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Painted Apple Moth Community Advisory Group

Painted Apple Moth Community Advisory Group

Every time the Minister of Agriculture feels threatened by revelations about the poor conduct of the painted apple moth eradication programme he raises unsubstantiated allegations against those who are doing their best to protect the public and most particularly the people who are suffering from the effects of the spray.

The latest spur for these attacks has been the increasing interest from outside New Zealand in the government¹s aerial spray programme. ³The scale of this operation is completely unprecedented,² says Community Advisory Group Chair, Kubi Witten-Hannah. ³No where else in the world has a government exposed an urban population to this level of pesticide spraying.²

>From the beginning of aerial spraying Aer Aqua has been reluctant to adequately provide for those suffering from the spray. On one occasion the wife of a man suffering from serious asthma was advised by Aer Aqua to seek psychiatric help for her husband. Only the most persistent of sufferers have been able to get assistance of any sort let alone evacuation.

Evacuation usually means a 4:00 am phone call and a booking at the cheapest motel that can be found. I visited several families of evacuees at a Newmarket motel sandwiched between Great South Road and the railway with the Southern Motorway a short distance further. The units were too small to comfortably house families and there was no secure play area for children. A recent news item featured a spray victim taking refuge in a tent. She was not sent there by Aer Aqua but it was all she could afford after a parsimonious Ministry of Agriculture decided to change the terms of her evacuation without seeking medical advice.

Mr Sutton has repeated earlier assertions about physical threats to PAM operation staff. Such threats to safety would be anathema to anti-spray campaigners. The police clearly do not take the assertions seriously since neither I nor, to the best of my knowledge, any other anti-spray campaigner, have been interviewed about these allegations. The new allegations about unsolicited approaches to users of MAF health services are bizarre since for them to be credible it would require MAF or Aer Aqua to be making their details of those who contacted them public.

³If Mr Sutton wishes to lash out with such wild and unsubstantiated allegations he should be prepared to name names,² says Mr Witten-Hannah. At the moment Mr Sutton appears to be desperately trying to undermine the anti-spray campaign without any evidence whatsoever. ³He would be better giving his attention to working towards safe eradication methods for dealing with the painted apple moth and looking after the victims of his aerial spray operation,² Mr Witten-Hannah added.

Kubi Witten-Hannah

Chairman Painted Apple Moth Community Advisory Group

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