Com­mit­tee re­jects weed spray re­view

Auckland City Harbour News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - TOM CARNEGIE

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.

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