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MAF Plans To Abandon Painted Apple Moth Project

June 24, 2002

MAF Plans To Abandon Painted Apple Moth Eradication

Forest and Bird is calling on the government to protect threatened species and native forests by completing the eradication of painted apple moth.

Forest and Bird has learnt that a Cabinet committee will tomorrow decide the fate of the painted apple moth eradication programme. Forest and Bird understands that MAF has recommended that eradication be abandoned. "MAF has spent less than 5 cents per New Zealander on the programme so far. How little do they value our native forests?," Mr. Keey said.

"New Zealand doesn't need the insect equivalent of possums. There are more than enough costly pests damaging native forests at the moment," Mr. Keey said.

According to preliminary analysis funded by MAF, painted apple moth will munch on karaka, two kowhai species, mangrove, two ribbon wood species, three beech species and ten native broom species.

"Native beech forests provide habitat for kiwi as well as protecting soil and water quality," Mr. Keey said.

"Painted apple moth attacks important and threatened native species. Many native broom species are rare or threatened with extinction. Native brooms also provide important habitat for other threatened species such as the red katipo spider," Mr. Keey said.

"MAF's eradication programme was bungled early on. But that's no reason to give up now. It is important that the government commits sufficient resources to complete the job," Mr. Keey said.

ENDS


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