INDEPENDENT NEWS

Spraydrift decimated Garden Centre victim of Gov

Published: Sun 31 Oct 1999 05:28 PM
Spraydrift decimated Garden Centre victim of Gov.'s inaction, say Greens
Release From The Green Party
Auckland's Sunhill Garden Centre, unlikely to get legal redress after being decimated by spraydrift this week, is a victim of Government inaction in introducing regulations to clamp down on chemical spraying, the Green Party says.
Sunhill closed for four days on Friday and is totally replacing its stock after toxic weedkiller, sprayed on a neighbouring property, drifted into the centre as well as nearby residential properties.
Another neighbour suffered throat and eye problems because of the spraying.
The garden centre is unlikely to be able to sue those responsible for the spraydrift, however the stock - worth tens of thousands of dollars - was covered by insurance.
Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today that under current regulations it was practically impossible to sue someone for spraydrift damage because of the extreme level of scientific proof required by law.
Legislation, first proposed three years ago, which would establish Chemical Trespass as a legal offence and make it illegal for spray used on one property to be found on another, was still in the ballot.
"We need a Government that will adopt the bill and bring it forward so it can be debated at select committee," Ms Fitzsimons said.
"It is unacceptable that people who use toxic chemicals should be free to damage the health and properties of others. People affected by spraydrift should have an absolute legal redress.
"The conflict between chemical farming and organic farming is likely to become more and more intense, and the way forward for New Zealand is an organic future."
The Green Party advocated that a timetable be developed, in consultation with consumers, growers and manufacturers, for phasing out the most toxic and persistent pesticides, such as the 33 pesticides identified by the United States EPA as being possible and probable carcinogens.
The Greens also advocated 10 per cent of New Zealand's agricultural production be organically certified by 2005 and 50 per cent certified by 2020, with the other 50 per cent in transition towards organic status

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