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Aerial Spraying Illegal Says Report Campaigners

October 21st 2004 - For Immediate Release

Aerial spraying illegal says Report Campaigners call for an urgent public inquiry

Campaigners fighting to prevent further aerial spraying in the five year old Painted Apple Moth eradication attempt in West Auckland, accuse the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) of deliberately breaking the law.

An urgent Report to the Government from the PAM Community Network details serious allegations about the legality and implications of Ministry actions.

Hana Blackmore, author of the report, says the evidence uncovered of MAF's calculated evasion of compliance with both the Biosecurity Act and the Resource Management Act (RMA) to continue a two year aerial spraying programme, exposes the contempt in which MAF hold the law.

"Even more worrying", says Hana, "it also exposes the contempt MAF have for any process of public consultation and for the health and wellbeing of the people of Auckland".

"Over the past two years there have been numerous calls for parliamentary and public inquiries, investigations or reviews into the adverse and unforeseen effects of the PAM programme."

"All such requests have been rejected or ignored whether they have come from respected scientists, community advocates or politicians. We believe that nothing short of a full Public Inquiry is now acceptable."

In the meantime the Report calls on the government to give an absolute guarantee of no further aerial spraying, comply with the legal requirements of the Biosecurity Act, and enter into immediate consultation with the Auckland Regional Council regarding implementation of the RMA provisions.

The Network is also calling on the Government to investigate and set up an independent body to review, mediate and settle all compensation claims arising from the PAM Programme.

The Report accuses MAF of operating a fraudulent and unattainable compensation system which appears designed to exclude all and every claim as not falling within the 'rules' of reimbursement or compensation. This is highlighted by the fact the Biosecurity Act can only deal with damage to property, or loss due to restriction on movement of goods.

"We believe the current compensation system is totally unjust," says Hana. "The patent failure to meet the unique needs of the case only emphasises the reality of a programme without precedent. None of this was envisaged when the Biosecurity Act was drawn up."

Hana said today that a public inquiry cannot come too fast for the people of West Auckland. "It is indefensible that their only compensation for 'protecting' the rest of New Zealand would seem to be the thanks of the Government for their two and a half year's "patience".


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