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Baldock delighted way clear on spray health probe

Media Statement For immediate release Wednesday, 3 September, 2003

Baldock delighted way clear on spray health probe

United Future's Larry Baldock is delighted submissions can now be made on the health effects of the painted apple moth after the Wellington School of Medicine obtained ethical clearance for a study on the health effects of the West Auckland spray campaign.

"At last, those whose lives have been turned upside down by this campaign, and who in many cases feel that their health has been damaged will be seriously listened to - and that is the first step for them," he said.

"United Future has pushed the Government very hard for this inquiry, and the long wait involved has been hugely frustrating, especially for many of the 400,000 Aucklanders in the spray zone," Mr Baldock, United Future's biosecurity spokesman, said.

"I believe the results of the process will, indeed, show that people have experienced genuine health effects from the spray and that these needed to be recognised much earlier and treated."

He said the study would be of great interest Hamilton residents now facing a similar spray programme for the Asian gypsy moth.

"It is important that MAF is up-front about the fact that the spray will essentially have health effects, and that the Government takes all measures to address the cost of those effects, any loss of income through extra days off work, as well as the re-location expenses during spray days.

"What caused concern in West Auckland was the cavalier MAF approach, where they basically said the spray was harmless and would cause no problems.

"They simply haven't listened to the people, or been willing to look at evidence to the contrary," Mr Baldock said. "Now that is about to change."

Spraying may be a necessary tool in MAF's eradication programme, Mr Baldock said, but the people who bear the brunt of it for the benefit of New Zealand as a whole, should not have to cover the costs themselves.

"I urge all those who have been affected to put in written submissions," he said.


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