Committee rejects weed spray review
Auckland councillors have rejected the mayor’s call to review its weed management policy.
Glyphosate is a chemical used by Auckland Council and Auckland Transport for weed control on streets and in council parks.
The use of the spray was standardised under the amalgamation of the super city and its use increased as a cost-cutting measure under the 2015 Long Term Plan.
Mayor Len Brown called for a review of the council’s use of the spray in July 2016 after receiving a 3696 strong public petition.
The petition called for an end to the use of glyphosate amid concerns it may have links to cancer.
However, the review had drawn criticism from community action groups and some council- lors who argue a change in practice is needed, not a change in policy.
At the September Regional and Policy Committee meeting members unanimously rejected the scope report on the review of the policy.
It also ‘‘expressed concerns about the use of glyphosate to the incoming council’’.
Ellerslie resident Julian Bartrom was one of several members of the public who presented at the meeting.
‘‘This review would have taken a whole year and Auckland would not have been able to make any inroads into minimising the use of chemicals on roads and parks in the meantime,’’ he said.
Albany councillor Wayne Walker said Auckland Council has failed to consider the health cost of the decision to use glyphosate.
‘‘If health costs were taken into consideration it would have become immediately apparent non chemical means were far less expensive, even without considering the distress of illness.’’
The World Health Organisation has classified glyphosate as ‘‘probably carcinogenic in humans’’.
Despite this classification Auckland Council is satisfied the use of the chemical fully complies with regulations.
Brett Butland, Auckland Council biosecurity manager, said ‘‘Auckland Council is guided by the New Zealand Environmental Protection Authority (EPA)’’.
A recent EPA report found that glyphosate is unlikely to be carcinogenic and should not be classified as a mutagen or carcinogen, Butland said.
Spray Free Streets members stand outside the council meeting room on the day of the Regional and Policy Committee meeting.