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Painted Apple Moth

Painted Apple Moth

For New Zealand's biosecurity measures and border controls to work properly, everyone needs to work together, Biosecurity Minister Jim Sutton said today.

He called on West Aucklanders to do everything possible to enable the aerial spraying to eradicate the painted apple moth. Another spray is to be carried out tomorrow morning, conditions permitting.

Mr Sutton said every other method of combating the moth had been tried and failed already, and the current aerial spraying programme was the last practicable option to eradicate the painted apple moth.

"Some activists against eradicating the moth are personalising this and encouraging people to act irresponsibly in an effort to get up my nose. This is pathetic.

"The Cabinet decided to proceed with an eradication attempt because of the incalculable risk the painted apple moth poses to our indigenous forests and the public health risk.

Mr Sutton said it was clear from overseas experience that about 95 per cent of the population was allergic to the hairs on the painted apple moth.

He said that about 5 per cent of the population were allergic to the Btk spray. This had been recognised by the Government, and about $6 million will be spent this financial year in providing health services to people in the area.

"If the people campaigning to put helium balloons in the flight path of the plane and to cover vegetation with tarpaulins are successful in their perverse aims, one likely outcome will be that there will be spraying every year, during the painted apple moth breeding season in order to reduce the impact of peak moth populations.

"These, of course, would be a charge on ratepayers."

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