2007 UPDATE: The Report of the March 2006 People's Inquiry has now been published.
they portray the spray as perfectly safe, then they belittle and dismiss the health
effects that arise, and finally when respected scientists and doctors investigate
and begin to report real concerns and possible pathways of exposure and effect,
they are disparaged, their credentials questioned and their Reports sidelined
or suppressed." -Report
vindicates the People's Inquiry Press Release, NZ Yet
again AG Kawamura caught in slanted truths. He claimed that pesticides were sprayed
over urban areas in Auckland, New Zealand. However he failed to mention that they
sprayed for the Painted Apple Moth and not the Light Brown Apple Moth. AG also
failed to mention there was a major investigation which reveailed that that the
"New Zealand government failed to meet the basic responsibility of a government
to protect its citizens from physical harm."
Much thanks for the information
below. It was written by:
Dr Tom Kerns,
Chair Department of Philosophy
North Seattle Community College
9600 College Way North
The Commissioners' Report for the People's Inquiry into aerial pesticide
spraying has now been completed and was finally made public last week at a launch
event held in the Waitakere city council chambers in West Auckland, New Zealand.
The People's Inquiry was a citizen-initiated, community-based Inquiry
into the longest and largest aerial pesticide spray ever conducted over an urban
The Inquiry sat for five days in March of 2006 and heard testimony
from individuals and families who reported severe health effects and economic
and personal impacts, as well as from a variety of medical, public health and
biosecurity experts who testified about both health effects and pest control practices.
For the past 18 months we commissioners have been studying the recorded
and written testimony in detail, have done extensive correlative research, and
have put together our findings and recommendations.
The Report details
mistakes and errors in judgement made by the NZ Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
and makes twenty seven recommendations for future government improvements. It
concludes that the reported health effects were indeed caused by exposure to the
spray, that the reported economic, social and personal consequences were direct
results of the spray program, that basic ethical and human rights principles were
ignored, and that the most fundamental responsibility of every government, viz.,
to protect its citizens from physical harm, was not met.
the spray programme and about the People's Inquiry can be viewed at http://www.peoplesinquiry.co.nz/
The Report of the People's Inquiry can be downloaded from the PI website
short address (3 minutes) I prepared for the launch event at which the Report
was made public can be viewed at http://gallery.mac.com/tkerns1/100000
short radio interview with one of the commissioners, Dr Joanna Goven, conducted
the day after the report's launch, can be heard at http://www.95bfm.co.nz/default,185473.sm
Below is a copy of the Report's Executive Summary.
of the People's Inquiry
The majority of testimony
had one major theme in common: the way in which members of the community were
treated when they sought assistance in dealing with the effects of the spray.
on the testimony we received, it is our opinion that: there was extensive disruption
of some people's work, education, family and social lives caused by their need
to avoid the spray; there were significant deficiencies in the health support
service; and many affected community members struggled to access medical assistance
and practical support to cope with the effects of the spray programme.
on the evidence presented to us, it is our opinion that: MAF did not take up the
opportunity to build upon the experience of the 1996/97 White-Spotted Tussock
Moth programme regarding relations with the community; and that MAF did not permit
the Community Advisory Group to represent community interests in any meaningful
Based on the testimony we have related in the report, it is our view
that: unsubstantiated claims about the threat represented by the PAM may have
damaged the credibility of Biosecurity New Zealand; and that the impact on the
community of the spray programme was exacerbated by inadequate provision of information,
particularly with regard to particular spray operations and the pesticide aerially
sprayed, Foray48B. For many of those whose health was affected by the spray, not
being able to find out what they were being exposed to understandably provoked
anxiety and anger.
Testimony strongly indicated not only that the authorities'
lack of acknowledgement of the affected community's experience itself had a considerable
impact on people, but also that the treatment received by many who sought assistance
generated hurt, anger, mistrust and alienation that has outlasted the PAM programme
and can be expected to influence residents? orientation toward "the national interest"
in the future.
In our view it is inappropriate that an agency (MAF) primarily
committed to the protection of primary production and trade should have responsibility
for managing the human-health impacts of an incursion response. In our view, it
is doubtful that any community expected to bear the health risks of an incursion
response will have confidence in MAF to properly consider health impacts when
primary-production sector interests are at stake.
Health studies that,
in our view, should have been carried out prior to, during, and after the spray
programme, were not carried out. The Health Risk Assessment that was carried out
was based on assumptions that differed significantly from the actual conditions
of the spray programme.
Based on the testimony we heard it is our view
that the protection of what should be independent research from political interference
is insufficiently robust.
The Biosecurity Act is insufficiently protective
of public health and should be amended.
It must be recognised that many
biosecurity decisions are not solely technical in nature, but fundamentally political.
They concern whose interests will be protected and to what degree, who will pay
the cost of that protection, and who will bear the risks. It cannot and should
not be expected that biosecurity authorities' answers to these questions will
simply be accepted by the public at large as being in the national interest."
The process of answering these questions, of setting priorities and making decisions,
must be transparent, and must take into account a wider range of interests, views
and knowledge than was the case in the PAM programme. There must, therefore, be
genuine opportunities for potentially affected communities to be involved in biosecurity
planning and decision-making.
Part Two: Upon reviewing the available evidence,
Dr Romeo Quijano concludes that the aerial spraying of Foray 48B resulted in adverse
health effects on the people exposed to the spraying. He notes: When an a priori
belief (the spray is "safe"; it does not make people sick) comes up against a
contradictory empirical claim (this spray is making me sick), the empirical claim
deserves to be given more epistemological weight than the a priori belief.
Three: Having examined the evidence in the light of relevant national and international
human rights instruments and conventions, Dr Tom Kerns concludes that in the prosecution
of the PAM aerial spray programme, the evidence shows a number of human rights
standards were not met and that the New Zealand government failed to meet the
basic responsibility of a government to protect its citizens from physical harm.
As a result of these failures, actions knowingly undertaken by agents of the government
resulted in the infliction of serious physical, social and economic injury on
a significant number of West Auckland citizens
thanks to Dr Tom Kerns for the above information and his hard work with the "People's
Inquiry" and more.