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Govt takes sledgehammer to Hamilton

Govt takes sledgehammer to Hamilton

The Greens are astounded the Government intends to spray Hamilton residents with the same controversial chemical cocktail used in Auckland, that caused health problems and massive home life disruption for many people.

The Government has announced today it will begin an aerial spray campaign against the Asian Gypsy Moth "incursion" in Hamilton, using the spray it used against the Painted Apple Moth in Auckland.

Green Agriculture Spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street MP said it was crazy the Government planned to use the highly unpopular, controversial and strongly resisted method, of spraying Foray 48B from the air, when only a solitary moth had been found in Hamilton.

"The Government is going to make the lives of Hamiltonians miserable, on the off-chance they might catch more than the one moth they have already found.

"This is using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, when they have many other options.

"Unlike the Painted Apple Moth, a pheromone (sex attractant) exists for the Asian Gypsy Moth, so the Government should begin with an extensive trapping programme to determine the extent of the incursion.

"They should also use ground spraying in the first instance, which is much more targeted than aerial spraying. They should restrict people moving vegetation from one part of Hamilton to another, and have a wider public education campaign to help people identify the insect.

"These are the sorts of simple but effective measures the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) took 2.5 years to put in place in its mishandling of the Painted Apple Moth. They should be implemented now as the first stage against the Asian Gypsy Moth.

"Aerial spraying should be the last resort," Mr Ewen-Street said.

"And prophylactic spraying is ludicrous. Unless MAF knows the extent of the infestation, from pheromone trapping data, they will never know whether the spray was successful or if there was ever more than one moth in the first place."

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