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MAF takes toxic option to control moth

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is using an ineffective and highly toxic method to control the outbreak of painted apple moth in Auckland, Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today.

A second infestation of the voracious painted apple moth was discovered last week in Panmure. Ground spraying has failed to control the first outbreak at Glendene, found in May this year.

"Aucklanders should be aware that the spray used - lorsban, or chlorpyrifos - is highly toxic. In fact MAF has taken the cheapest and most highly toxic option available and so far it hasn't worked," Ms Fitzsimons said.

"MAF is trying to deal with the moth on the cheap, which is both ineffective and dangerous. They are still finding caterpillars in Glendene but despite this failure, MAF is saying it will use the same approach in Panmure and Mount Wellington.

"With a probable outbreak throughout wide areas of Auckland, MAF will have to turn to less toxic aerial spraying of Bt," she said.

"I've been approached by scientists who are very critical of MAF's handling of the issue. The ministry should be embarrassed by yet another failure to stop a pest through border controls, and also by the very high toxicity of the spray it is using at present.

"We should be stopping these pests at the border, with full inspections of containers, for example. But with the moth already here and the scientists telling us that we have a safe and previously successful option in aerial spraying of Bt, we have to bite the bullet and do it.

"This is another example of why the Green Party wants safe trade, not free trade," she said.

Jeanette Fitzsimons: 025 586 068

More information on the painted apple moth, including graphics, is available in the May 99 edition of Forest Health News, under publications at www.forestresearch.co.nz/news.cfm.




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