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National calls for inquiry into moth spray

National calls for inquiry into moth spray

A parliamentary select committee inquiry into the painted apple moth saga is essential to improving New Zealand's biosecurity, says National's Environment spokesperson, Nick Smith.

"The Government has made a total botch-up of dealing with this incursion, to the point that a residents' revolt in Auckland could halt the spray programme.

"MAF has proved slow and indecisive in responding to the original incursion, it has mismanaged the spray programme and it has alienated the West Auckland community through poor public relations.

"Parliament can't have confidence that an economically devastating outbreak of foot and mouth would be properly managed, if this sort of debacle is any example. We must sort out this mess to ensure New Zealand's biosecurity systems function properly.

"Sir Geoffrey Palmer's proposition that the aerial spraying may breach the Bill of Rights and the Health Act has huge implications for responding to future biosecurity breaches.

"If the use of sprays to control unwanted pests is to be classified as medical or scientific experimentation requiring every person's consent, this legal missile has the potential to strangle our biosecurity systems and increase the risk for our primary based industries.

"A select committee inquiry would not only get to the bottom of the painted apple moth mess, but would also enable the law to be reviewed to ensure the right balance between the protection of public health and the maintenance of our biosecurity."

Dr Smith says National would be placing the issue on the agenda of the Environment and Local Government Select Committee and the Primary Production Selection Committee, and that it favours a joint committee inquiry.

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