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Painted apple moth: a personal view

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Formerly known as the Forest Research Institute, Scion has been a leader in research relating to forest health for over 50 years. The Rotorua-based Crown Research Institute continues to provide science that will protect all forests from damage caused by insect pests, pathogens and weeds. The information presented below arises from these research activities.

From Forest Health News 91, November 1999.

I note with interest the painted apple moth update (FHNews 90: 1, Oct 1999}. MAFs stated goal of eradication is hardly consistent with their performance to date which lacks commitment, resources and scientific and operational expertise. MAF has been unreceptive to either sector or scientific urging for an aggressive response based on the best possible scientific and technical advice available. In particular the experience gained from the successful white spotted tussock moth eradication in Auckland has not been utilised. It is now six months since the discovery of the pest, which by MAF's own admission is potentially more serious than tussock moth, and no effective host testing, insecticide screening, quarantine action or delimiting survey has been undertaken. Pheromone development, essential for monitoring and detection, has only just begun by an unproven service supplier while proven suppliers have been rejected by MAF. We now have two infestation centres kilometres apart and no knowledge of what is going on over the next hill in Auckland. I am amazed that this state of affairs has raised such little comment by the sector most at risk. If this insect becomes yet another addition to our exotic pest fauna, as seems highly likely, both MAF and the sector will share the responsibility and consequences.

Gordon Hosking, Hosking Forestry

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