INDEPENDENT NEWS

Hamilton spraying supported

Published: Mon 8 Sep 2003 11:05 PM
Hamilton spraying supported
Forest owners have endorsed the Government’s decision to fund the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry programme to eradicate the Asian Gypsy Moth in Hamilton.
“This pest is a serious risk to the environment and economy. The only option is an aggressive approach to its containment and eradication. We cannot afford to take the risk of it becoming established,” said NZFOA executive director Rob McLagan.
“As a garden city with many outstanding deciduous trees in private gardens and public parks, Hamiltonians would have a lot to lose if the moth became established in Waikato.
“As it spread, it would also be likely to devastate native and plantation forests.
“Also, some people would also be unable to enjoy outdoor recreation during the caterpillar season -- because of allergic reactions to the caterpillar hairs which blow in the wind.”
Mr McLagan said he was sympathetic to those people who had concerns about the use of sprays in built-up areas.
“However, MAF does an excellent job assisting the very few people who have allergic reactions to what is otherwise an innocuous product. The spray normally affects only those species which have caterpillars as part of their life cycles.”
He explained that gypsy moth caterpillars are known to feed on the foliage of more than 600 different plant species.
“As a country we only have limited resources and unless we deploy them effectively and efficiently, we won’t be able to protect our environment for very long.

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