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No comfort for spray-soaked Aucklanders

13 May, 2004

Minister offers no comfort to spray-soaked Aucklanders

West Aucklanders have been bombarded from the air with nearly 700,000 litres of a potentially dangerous commercial insecticide, associate Biosecurity Minister Marion Hobbs admitted today in response to a question from Green MP Sue Kedgley.

"It is shocking that the government has allowed 663,000 litres of Foray 48B to be sprayed over the people of West Auckland, before it had even checked whether it was safe when it is inhaled," Ms Kedgley, the Green Health spokesperson, said.

A recent report by the Wellington School of Medicine cast doubt over the safety of the spray, which was used in MAF's Painted Apple Moth spray programme, and warned that it might cause chronic respiratory diseases if inhaled.

Ms Kedgley also accused the Government of putting the commercial sensitivities of the spray-maker before the right to know of its own citizens. "It was prepared to put at risk the health of the people of West Auckland by allowing almost 700,000 litres of an insecticide to be sprayed over them, but refused to tell them what is in the formulation they were being sprayed with," said Ms Kedgley.

"In fact, secrecy seems to obscure every part of this operation, with the Minister also refusing to answer a question as to whether government would be establishing an independent inquiry into how MAF conducted the spray programme and possible health risks it posed to West Auckland residents.

"The Minister is at least consistent: she also refused to confirm if the nightmare was over for the residents of West Auckland, and that this was the last time they would be aerially sprayed with Foray 48B."


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