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Government must get real on poisoned land

4 November, 2004

Government must get real on poisoned land

Green MP Sue Kedgley today called on the Government to take the contaminated land situation seriously by agreeing to fund the testing of potentially poisoned land in the Auckland region, following her parliamentary questions to the Minister for the Environment Marion Hobbs in the House today.

Ms Kedgley, the Green Party's Health spokesperson, welcomed the Minister's answer she was working with the Auckland Regional Council on the issue, but said the government must give a firm commitment to affected property owners that it would help to pay for testing of contaminated properties.

"Anxious homeowners need reassurance now, not in the distant future, that the Government will front up to its responsibilities and help test and if necessary remediate potentially contaminated properties," she said.

"The Government has a moral responsibility to help affected homeowners by paying for the costs of the testing. Successive governments permitted the widespread use of the pesticides that have poisoned the land while reassuring New Zealanders it was safe.

"It's clear that the Auckland situation is just the tip of the iceberg and that many, many residential properties around New Zealand built on former horticultural land are also likely to be contaminated with pesticide residues.

"Housing developments have continued to be built on former horticultural land around Auckland and elsewhere. The Government must ensure that no more homes are built on poisoned land.

"To achieve this the Government must ensure that the Contaminated Site fund is adequately resourced so that there are sufficient funds for a nationwide testing programme of potentially contaminated sites," she said.

Ms Kedgley said the Government should have withdrawn the registration of all pesticides that persist in the environment years ago.

She added that the Government still permitted the use of pesticides that persist in the environment for decades like the organochlorine endosulfin which is still being used in food crops and is showing up as residues in food.

ENDS


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