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Report on complaints arising from aerial spraying

Mel Smith
Issue date:

 In this investigation my concern has been with the impact, and possible potential impact, that the use of the spray Foray 48B by aerial spraying may have had upon the over 217,000 people within the West Auckland and Hamilton spray zones. 

I have reached the conclusions that insufficient attention was paid to the impact of these operations, and that since there is the likelihood that the need to carry out similar operations may well arise in the future, it is important that a structure be established that will enable the worst features of these earlier operations to be avoided. 

In particular, there needs to be a clear official acceptance that although the numbers of people may not be great as a proportion of the community in the spray zone, there will, in raw numbers, be a significant number who the evidence indicates will require medical attention, and in some cases removal from the area to be sprayed.  It is no light thing to be sprayed, perhaps repeatedly, with some substance the ingredients of which are to some extent confidential, and to have one's life substantially disrupted for what may be a quite lengthy period of time.

I am of the view that if a New Zealand government is going to authorise a major spray programme such as those in issue here it is essential that it has, and retains, public support.  That point was emphasised in one of the last of the reports available to me in relation to Operation Ever Green.

However, in respect of both the West Auckland and Hamilton sprays it was apparent that while the majority put up with the discomfort and inconvenience, there was a significant lack of public support, and mistrust of the Government agencies involved. 

I have considered a large amount of information in the course of this investigation (as will be seen from Appendix 1) but there are two items to which I wish particularly to refer.  They are the Venture Research Ltd document entitled "Painted Apple Moth Resident Perceptions - Research Report (February 2004)",and a report by the same agency entitled “Painted Apple Moth Campaign CommunicationsResearch Report”.The copy of the latter report that I have is undated but was prepared after completion of the PAM operations.  They were of course prepared for MAF.

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