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Back to basics on the painted apple moth

Time to get back to basics on the painted apple moth

Green Party Biosecurity Spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street today backed Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey's call for a switch from blanket aerial spraying to a ground-based campaign in the Painted Apple Moth eradication programme.

However, Mr Ewen-Street said the best approach would be to focus on ground spraying, until a male moth pheromone could be developed for use in ground-based traps.

"Virtually everyone agrees that the painted apple moth must be eradicated, but the enormous negative impact of aerial spraying on the health of thousands of West Aucklanders is simply not acceptable," Mr Ewen-Street said.

"I find it almost inconceivable that, in a country like New Zealand, tens of thousands of people can be repeatedly sprayed with a cocktail of chemicals - the contents of which the Government refuses to divulge. The Government sees the intellectual property rights of the spray manufacturer to be more important than the public's right to know what is in the spray. It smacks of totalitarianism."

Widespread ground control methods should be introduced immediately, with targeted aerial spraying for inaccessible areas like gullies and the waterfront.

"Ground control methods have the huge advantage of involving the community as part of the solution, rather than bombarding them with poison and treating them as part of the problem."

Mr Ewen-Street said that if the Agriculture Ministry had not sat on its hands for the first 2.5 years of the infestation, it might well have already developed a male moth pheromone for use in traps.

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