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MAF won't pay the bill for making teachers ill

MAF won't pay the bill for making teachers ill

Green MP Sue Kedgley is calling on MAF to cough up and pay compensation to Fraser High School for the debt the school incurred covering sick leave for staff affected by the Asian Gypsy Moth spray programme over Hamilton late last year.

An OSH report has found the spray programme to blame for the serious illness suffered by up to 10 members of Fraser High's staff. The Ministry of Education has picked up some of the bill for relief staff needed to cover for the sick teachers, but MAF has adamantly refused to accept any responsibility or offer any compensation.

"There is no disputing that the staff's illness was caused by the spraying," Ms Kedgley said. "The OSH report makes it quite clear that the spray made the staff sick, but MAF stubbornly refuses to admit its culpability or to compensate the school for having made its teachers ill by their spraying programme. "It is scandalous, but sadly MAF's refusal to compensate for the damage it has caused is only too typical of the department's attitude to the handling of its aerial spray programmes over populated areas.

"The Fraser High experience is just the tip of the iceberg. The programmes involving the Foray48B spray have resulted in thousands of cases of sickness in West Auckland and Hamilton.

"After spending a vast amount of public money on a spin campaign to deny any link between the illnesses and its spray, MAF has a vested interest in maintaining the myth of its own infallibility.

"The loser, yet again, is Fraser High," said Ms Kedgley. "Having had its term disrupted by illness to many of its teaching staff, the school is now forced to use its own badly-needed funds to pick up the relieving bill, which is a fraction of the amount MAF has spent on denying responsibility. The Ministry should be ashamed."

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