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Govt Puts Health of Forest Before West Aucklanders

WASP: West Aucklanders Against Aerial Spraying

Government Puts Health of Forestry Industry Before Health of New Zealanders

Helen Wiseman-Dare of West Aucklanders Against Aerial Spraying said today she was not surprised by the government's decision to continue with the aerial spraying campaign over Auckland residents.

She said the government had caved in to forestry industry pressure to eradicate the Painted Apple Moth, regardless of the health consequences for Auckland residents and regardless of the fact that MAF still has no idea of the extent of the moth's spread. Each spray round has seen the spray area extended suggesting the moth has not yet been contained, she said. $23 million has already been spent with 100% eradication not yet achieved anywhere.

The government has admitted that only 60-80% eradication is likely yet still intends to enlarge the spray zone to 3 times the area sprayed for the east Auckland Tussock Moth. This would make it the largest eradication campaign in the world, she said. Some residents will be sprayed up to 70 times. Nowhere else in the world have people been sprayed with Foray 48B as extensively as they have in Auckland.

No testing has ever been done to prove the long term safety of an aerial spray campaign of this magnitude using Foray 48B, she said. In Canada it was banned for use in ground spraying - one of the reasons given was that there had been no long term studies done on the effects of Btk on human health.

Over 700 reports of adverse health effects were documented as a result of the east Auckland spraying. Similar health effects have appeared everywhere in the world where Foray 48B had been sprayed, including west Auckland, she said.

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Mr Sutton (Minister for Biosecurity) is incorrect when he describes the spray as organic and naturally occurring. Foray 48B has not been approved for use in organic or any other agriculture and overseas growers lost their organic certification after being sprayed with it. The spray contains over 97% inert chemical ingredients. Overseas testing has confirmed these to be mainly harmful and carcinogenic substances. MAF has described the spray as a "commercial formulation" containing "inert chemical components . . .sunscreen and sticking agents". MAF's Health Risk Assessment for the spray programme says ..."however we would expect some people to complain of skin, eye and upper respiratory tract irritation if directly exposed to the spray or substantial spray deposits".

MAF and the government have shown a callous disregard for the health and well-being of residents, she said, by doing everything they could to downplay the health effects being suffered by west Aucklanders and making it extremely difficult for them to get any assistance with their healthcare.

Ms Wiseman-Dare questioned why the taxpayer rather than the forestry industry was paying for the eradication campaign, given that the moth appeared to offer a potential threat only to the forestry industry. The moth has been here for four years and has not yet cost the economy a cent - 80% of moth finds have been on wattle trees and MAF has found it is not a threat to the majority of our natives, she said.

Helen Wiseman-Dare
Chairperson, WASP (West Aucklanders Against Aerial Spraying)

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