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Greens call on Government to admit spray campaign

Embargoed till 12.01am December 12, 2007

12 December 2007

Greens call on Government to admit spray campaign errors

The Ombudsman's report on Complaints Arising from Aerial Spraying is a damning indictment of the Government's handling of the painted apple moth aerial spraying campaign, the Green Party says.

"The Government needs to admit its errors, apologise to the people of West Auckland who were adversely affected by the spraying campaign, and take on board all of the recommendations and findings of the report," Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says.

"The report has far reaching implications and should be fully considered by the Health Select Committee and other Parliamentary bodies," Ms Kedgley says.

"The Government needs to acknowledge that, contrary to their persistent denials, there were significant health effects on the affected population, and that it was wrong to refuse to disclose the contents of the pesticide they were spraying over the people of West Auckland and Hamilton.

"It was also wrong to use public relations' spin and denial to try to justify a major programme like this. I agree with the Ombudsman's report that it is unacceptable to tell the public that there are no long term health effects from the spray when long term health studies have never been carried out," Ms Kedgley says.

"The Green Party also agrees wholeheartedly with the Ombudsman that people must be told what the ingredients of any pesticide used in aerial spraying are if the public will be exposed to them through Government spraying campaigns.

"Urgent amendments are needed to the Biosecurity Act to ensure that in any future biosecurity programme the Minister of Health oversees the health effects, not the Minister of Agriculture. It is also imperative that the law is amended to require that equal consideration is given to health issues as to biosecurity and ecological issues and that there is adequate public participation in the process, especially from the affected community."


ENDS

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