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Minister abhors activists' harassment


Minister abhors activists' harassment

The harassment of people using the painted apple moth health service, the people carrying out the painted apple moth eradication programme, and others involved in agriculture was not acceptable, Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton said he had received reports from officials that an activist offering unsolicited advice had caused confusion and distress to vulnerable people accessing the PAM health service.

He said the cases were being investigated for Privacy Act breaches.

"This harassment of vulnerable people is unacceptable. This is not the first time activists have resorted to unacceptable means to express themselves ? people working on the eradication programme have been subjected to rude phone calls at all hours of the night and day, along with threats to their and their families' health. These have been passed on to police."

Mr Sutton said inaccurate allegations had been leveled at MAF staff's care of people affected by the spray.

"We will not discuss individual cases, but we know that some people were offered relocation to a motel but chose instead to arrange their own accommodation. MAF certainly would not and have not sent people to live in tents or in caravans. This is not appropriate accommodation.

"It is interesting that these claims are being made when foreign journalists are visiting to report on the PAM eradication programme."

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