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Sharples: Sub-ordinate Legislation Bill

Sub-ordinate Legislation (Confirmation and Validation) Bill

Dr Pita Sharples; Co-leader, Maori Party

Wednesday 14 December 2005

I rise on behalf of the Maori Party to address this Bill in the context of the first reading of this Bill.

In the interests of bringing new ideas to this debate, our priority today, is to focus particularly on the Biosecurity (Gypsy Moth Levy) order.

In this Bill, the Biosecurity (Gypsy Moth Levy) Order 2004 was made in the context of the Biosecurity Act 1993.

The order provides for a levy to be imposed on all shipping containers and used vehicles imported into New Zealand and is the liability primarily of importers although an importer or a shipping agent must pay the levy.

The levy is calculated on the basis of

- dividing the estimated annual cost of a surveillance programme by the

- estimated number of shipping containers and used vehicles to be imported annually into New Zealand and

- is to be spent on a surveillance programme for gypsy moth.

While we are pleased to see the introduction of the levy, it is the bigger issue around the eradication of the gypsy moth that still remains unresolved.

This is an area that is of particular interest to me in the issues given its implications for the people of Tamaki Makaurau, and in particular West Auckland.

Just last month it was announced that a report into the health effects of aerial insecticide spraying in West Auckland found that child asthma rates rose during that spraying programme.

The report from the Institute of Environmental Science and Research pointed to a “plausible” link to the spray programme.

The report found that for boys aged to four years, hospital discharge rates for asthma conditions doubled over the period 2002 to mid 2004 in the exposed population.

One parent described his daughter as being hospitalised 28 times in a year with serious asthma. That’s a hospital episode every fortnight for a five year old girl.

Our particular concern with the linking of the moth spray to the incidence of respiratory diseases is the greater Maori asthma morbidity.

The Maori Asthma Review concluded that asthma was more severe and that hospitalisation and mortality rates for Maori exceeded those of non-Maori.

What the Review says is that Maori are no more likely than non-Maori to develop asthma, but once they get it is more severe and tends to last longer.

The economic burden of asthma to New Zealand has been conservatively estimated as 800 million dollars per year.

For the sake of our society, our economy, and our community wellbeing, we must be vigilant in stamping out any factors which may serve to threaten our future progress as a nation.

Eradication of the gypsy moth may not be as critical as the insecticide introduced to kill it.

The question must always be asked - that in doing whatever we do to get rid of a particular problem, we must not increase the likelihood of other illnesses.

In a way, it’s like using a wet towel to hit a moth on the lightbulb. Sure you may get rid of the moth but in the process you may end up in the dark.

Kia ora

ENDS

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