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Inquiry Should Be Started In Tandem With Spraying

11 December 2001

Green Party Biosecurity spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street said today that the Minister's decision to step in and allow spraying to go ahead in West Auckland should be accompanied by an inquiry into what went wrong.

"The Minister of Biosecurity's decision to step in and facilitate aerial spraying in West Auckland was inevitable given MAF's dithering for years and the large area that the Painted Apple Moth has now spread to," he said.

"The next step is to find out exactly what went wrong, so it won't happen again. The Minister must begin a select committee inquiry into MAF's mismanagement of the situation in tandem with the spray programme."

Jim Sutton announced today that he would exempt the moth eradication from the Resource Management Act to allow spraying to go ahead. Mr Sutton emphasised he is not declaring an emergency.

"While the Minister does not legally have to declare a biosecurity emergency to allow spraying to go ahead, it is extremely important that he doesn't try to play down the seriousness of the situation," said Mr Ewen-Street.

"MAF has completely failed to deal with this incursion for several years, and now the beautiful Waitakere forest ranges are at risk, and even more residents will be affected by the spraying.

"We need to find out how the eradication went so badly wrong, so that at least we learn from these painful mistakes."

ENDS

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