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28 June 2001
An independent review, commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, has made recommendations to improve ongoing efforts to eradicate the painted apple moth from Auckland.
The painted apple moth, discovered in Auckland in 1999, firstly in Glendene and later in Mt Wellington, may have been eradicated from Mt Wellington but is still present in the West Auckland suburbs of Avondale, Glendene, Glen Eden, Kelston and Titirangi. The report concluded that the painted apple moth may not be as serious a threat to New Zealand as some other exotic pests because the female cannot fly. The moth therefore has limited potential for natural spread.
MAF's Acting Director-General Larry Fergusson said the report had been commissioned following forestry industry concerns that not enough was being done technically and managerially to deal with the painted apple moth. The review found, however, that the 'overall PAM eradication strategy appears to have been appropriate' and prospects for eradicating the insect still appear good.
Mr Fergusson said it was his intention to action the recommendations as soon as possible, and in fact, many had been actioned already. MAF will be working closely with the West Auckland communities, the forestry industry and other interested groups in this process.
The independent review was commissioned by Barry O'Neil, the Group Director of MAF's Biosecurity Authority. Dr Bruce Simpson, a biosecurity consultant and Dr Andrew Liebhold, a United States Department of Agriculture (Forest Service) scientist conducted the review.
Recommended ways to improve the response include: Establishing an additional painted apple moth colony primarily to supply female moths for the trapping programme and aid the development of a pheromone; Strengthening the existing controls on movement of risk material moving from properties in infested areas; Developing a plan allowing for the use of targeted aerial spraying as an option for future control; Developing a communication strategy to ensure all those involved in the control programme are consulted; and Improving MAF's coordination of the programme.