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National to force vote on Painted Apple Moth

National to force vote on Painted Apple Moth

National will next Thursday force the Environment Select Committee to a vote on an inquiry into the Painted Apple Moth saga.

"The Government's handling of the Painted Apple Moth infestation has been one fiasco after another," says National's Environment spokesperson, Nick Smith.

"Our biosecurity systems failed badly in not preventing the pest's entry to New Zealand. Bureaucratic bungling resulted in over two years' delay in stopping the Moth's spread through West Auckland. And now real questions are being asked about the safety of the spraying programme, following an Auckland University health study.

"The case for a Parliamentary inquiry is overwhelming," says Dr Smith.

Dr Smith is accusing Government MPs of "playing pass the parcel" with an inquiry into the saga. "An inquiry has been discussed at the Primary Production, Health and Environment Select Committees, but Labour members have argued some other committee should do it.

"National just wants to get on with the job, so will force a vote at next Thursday's Environment Select Committee.

"This is a deadly serious issue. No country is as dependent on reliable biosecurity as New Zealand and these systems have totally failed with the Painted Apple Moth.

"Auckland citizens caught up in the heavy spraying programme deserve an open hearing on their concerns, and need to know why the Painted Apple Moth saga has been so badly managed."

Dr Smith has distributed draft terms of reference to all political parties in Parliament which would enable the committee to inquire into the original border breach of biosecurity, the long delays before action was taken and the management and safety of the spray programme.

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