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Minister of Health or Minister of Hide and Seek?

Minister of Health or Minister of Hide and Seek?

Green MP Sue Kedgley today called on Annette King to exercise her responsibilities as Minister of Health to protect the health of New Zealanders by calling off tomorrow's planned Painted Apple Moth spraying in West Auckland in light of the report casting doubt over the safety of the spray.

The report raises significant questions over the health effects of the spray Foray 48B being used to aerially spray West Auckland in an attempt to eliminate the Painted Apple Moth. Ms Kedgley said the spraying programme should be put on hold until those serious health concerns had been answered.

"As the Minister of Health, Ms King is responsible for protecting the health of New Zealanders yet she has been curiously quiet over the findings of a report commissioned by her Ministry that calls into question the safety of Foray 48B," said Ms Kedgley, the Green Party's Health spokesperson.

"We know Ms King is in the country but she's been strangely silent on an issue of great concern for the health of West Aucklanders. Instead, it's been left to Biosecurity Minister Jim Sutton to defend the Government's inaction."

Ms Kedgley said it was clear that the Government and the Ministry were trying to suppress the report until the spraying programme has been completed.

"This report was commissioned by the Ministry of Health, it is in the possession of the Ministry of Health, and it is about the health effects of the spray, yet there's been not a peep from the Minister of Health," Ms Kedgley said. "I call on the Minister to release this important report.

"Jim Sutton is not the Minister of Health, his department did not commission this study, yet it has been Sutton who has been making the public pronouncements about the health safety of the spray.

"It was also bizarre that Mr Sutton was condemning the report as flawed, and yet he is also claiming that he hasn't even read the report. How can he reject as flawed a report that he hasn't even read?"

Ms Kedgley repeated her calls to government to halt the spraying tomorrow until all concerned residents and health officials have had a chance to analyse the report.

"MAF should proceed with targeted ground-based spraying only because the report demonstrates that there is a clear risk associated with aerial spraying with Foray 48B," she said.

ENDS

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