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29 September 2004
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) has informed Hamilton's Fraser
High School that its compensation claim for the cost of relief teachers to cover
staff absences during the 2003 Asian Gypsy Moth eradication operation has not
been accepted, Director of Forest Biosecurity Peter Thomson said today.
Claims for compensation can be lodged with MAF in accordance with section
162A of the Biosecurity Act 1993 by parties who consider they have suffered loss
as a result of actions MAF has taken to manage or eradicate any unwanted
"Fraser High School made a claim to be compensated for what they believed to
be the extra cost of relief teachers used to cover staff who took leave during
the aerial operations to eradication the Asian Gypsy moth late in 2003," Peter
"An independent investigation conducted by Sundial Group into the claim,
determined there was ample opportunity for the school to make use of resources
provided by the Ministry of Education to alleviate any cost impact on staffing
resources caused by teachers taking leave because of the aerial operation.
Education officials worked intensively with Fraser High School and identified
$25,000 of staff funding management efficiency gains. The value of these gains
was twice that of the Fraser High School claim.
"Ministry of Education records show that at the time of the aerial operations
in Hamilton, Fraser High had considerable credits for sick leave available – 512
days in total.
"The report concluded that it was not plausible to consider that the
taxpayer, having provided funding support through the Ministry of Education,
should be asked to pay again through a compensation claim with MAF. As the
relief funding rests with the Ministry not with the school, at no time was the
school out of pocket. If any payment had been made to Fraser High by the MAF it
would have effectively been regarded as "double-dipping," Peter Thomson said
Tina Nixon, Senior Communications Adviser Phone: 0-27-223 2789