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Painted Apple Moth spray programme ends

Media Statement 13 May 2004

Painted Apple Moth spray programme ends

The final aerial treatment operation for painted apple moth marked a major milestone in the battle to wipe out the pest, Biosecurity Minister Jim Sutton and Acting Biosecurity Minister Marian Hobbs said today.

Mr Sutton said that in July 2002, the Government made the tough decision to support a major aerial spraying operation to ensure the eradication of the painted apple moth by the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry.

"This moth is a serious threat to our urban, native and commercial trees with an estimated economic impact of about $258 million.

"MAF was aware the medical conditions of some people could be exacerbated by some of the components in Foray 48B so they set up an independent health support service to mitigate any impacts for a small section of the population in the painted apple moth zone. Aerial spraying has disrupted people's lives, but we have been heartened by the support we have received from the majority of the people in western Auckland.

"Underpinning the aerial treatments has been scientific studies to provide us with valuable information on how fight similar pests in the future."

Ms Hobbs said today was the last time western Auckland would be aerially treated for painted apple moth unless a small population was detected.

"But with no wildling moths being trapped for four months, MAF is optimistic that the battle to eradicate this pest has largely been won."

However, she emphasised that the end of aerial operations did not mean the end of the eradication programme. Monitoring for any sign of remnant moth populations will continue and vegetation controls will stay in place.

Both ministers congratulated MAF on their efforts and thanked the people of western Auckland again for supporting the eradication effort to wipe out the Painted Apple Moth.

ENDS

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