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3 July 2002
Aerial spraying of a slightly expanded area of West Auckland will be continue
while additional work is done on the future of the painted apple moth programme,
Biosecurity Minister Jim Sutton said today.
Mr Sutton said Cabinet had decided that the spray programme should continue
in the meantime.
"However, Cabinet has asked for more detailed information on each of two
longer-term options: an all-out effort to get rid of the painted apple moth, and
a management plan that accepts that eradication is not possible."
Both options had potentially high costs, he said. Cabinet ministers needed to
be sure that all options had been worked through thoroughly before making a
decision that could have wide-ranging implications.
Mr Sutton said that vehement opposition to aerial spraying from a section of
the West Auckland community despite the proven safety record of the Btk spray
was unfortunate. Spraying was an important weapon against pest incursions, and
it was vital that the Government could use it in the future.
"This has not been an easy project, and there have been many factors
that had caused difficulties.
"The difficulty in determining exactly where the moth was, the logistics
of mounting a large, complex aerial operation, the difficulty of synthesizing a
pheromone attractant as well as manoeuvring through the legislative
requirements of both local and central government, a complex and difficult
liaison with the local community, and ensuring sufficient supply of the spray
chemical, and many other factors have added up.
"Until the outbreak in West Auckland, no-one in the world had done any
real research on the painted apple moth. We have no way of knowing with any
certainty whether it would be a serious pest in New Zealand. And we have no
certainty of success in an eradication attempt.
"Cabinet is giving this programme close scrutiny. It is an important
matter to get right."
For more information:
CATHIE BELL on 04 4719855 or 025 998467 email