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Painted Apple Moth eradication

Painted Apple Moth eradication

An extra aerial spray will be needed next month over West Auckland, Biosecurity Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton said it had been hoped that the eradication programme for the painted apple moth would be just 10 aerial sprays ending this month. But warmer than normal weather this autumn meant that an eleventh spray would be necessary to ensure that as many painted apple moth caterpillars as possible were eradicated before winter.

"The people of West Auckland have been extremely understanding about the need to carry out this operation. I sincerely appreciate their forbearance and their recognition of the importance of this programme.

"The programme is important, both for our commercial forests and our indigenous forests. Biosecurity is a constant process of improvement, and I want to assure the people of West Auckland, Auckland, and all of New Zealand, that a process is in place to do as much as possible to stop pests such as the painted apple moth establishing in our country."

Mr Sutton said it was heartening that for the past two weeks there had been no moth catches in the affected zone, which indicated that the eradication programme would be successful.

"However, it is not over yet. We must take a cautious approach, as the eradication of the painted apple moth is not something we want to take any risks with."

The extra spray would be carried out on Thursday May 13, weather permitting. It would be the end of the summer phase of the eradication programme.

Mr Sutton said he would be recommending to Cabinet that the winter eradication programme be over a smaller area and be less frequent. However, next summer it might be necessary to use the Fokker plane for limited aerial operations again.

"We are hopeful we will not have to use the larger plane but the reality is we cannot afford to compromise the eradication programme in any way."

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