Thursday 8 December 2016
Church and Community Centre
Ōrākei Local Board
OPEN MINUTE ITEM ATTACHMENTS
9.1 Public Forum - Meadowbank Pony Club
9.2 Public Forum - Mens Shed Auckland East
9.4 Public Forum - Use of Agrichemicals for Weed and Vegetation Control - Julian Bartrom
9.5 Public Forum - Chemical Spraying of Pesticides for Weed and Vegetation Control - Fiona McKee
9.6 Public Forum - Use of Weed Sprays containing Glyphosate - Bruce Baguley
08 December 2016
Dear Mr Chairman Colin Davis and Members of the Orakei Local Board Kit Parkinson, Carmel Claridge, Troy Churton, Toni Millar, Rosalind Rundle and David Wong
We ask for your support in AC/AT upholding the legacy non-chemical vegetation management in Ellerslie especially, and implementing the Weed Management Policy 2013 of spray free streets and parks in Auckland
From as far back as 1988 the Community of Michael Park School is on record with the Ellerslie Borough Council for expressing our serious concern about council sprays. You may remember the event of our entire school being down at Ellerslie Domain for sports day and next day there being a lot of absentees from school with sick kids showing similar symptoms - headaches, lots of painful red eyes, stingy tummies, wiped out, general malaise, behavioural. A parent was aware of the symptoms of chemical poisoning because her newborn baby had been oversprayed whilst asleep in his pram outside. She recognised the pattern of symptoms our entire school was displaying and upon investigation discovered that a spray truck had gone all around the Ellerslie Domain spraying the streets with Roundup (active ingredient glyphosate) while our pupils engaged in their sports. This is how the Community of Michael Park School came to realise the necessity of being proactive against glyphosate/ chemical weed spraying used by Council.
Below is the council record of that event from the Weed Management Policy 1999, History:
1988 Ellerslie Borough Council suspended all herbicide spraying pending an investigation into adverse health effects, following representations by parents and teachers from Michael Park School and from members of Toxins Action Group. This was followed by a total ban on herbicide use on roadsides or sports fields.
There was ongoing objection to chemical spraying and below are some key events; direct quotes from the Weed Management Policy 1999 :
3.3 Waiheke, Great Barrier and Ellerslie ‘No Herbicide Use’ Policies
In Ellerslie, in the Maungakiekie Ward, there is a ban on herbicide use on roadsides and sports parks;
Roadsides: As a result of presentations to the Council on adverse effects of herbicide use, and after seeking legal advice, the Council in 1993 voted to use non-chemical methods of weed control on roadsides. A research report into such methods concluded that the Waipuna system was the only feasible option at that time; consequently the Council adopted its use on all roadsides with adequate accessibility. ... Council staff report that the Waipuna system has been well-operated and is successful in controlling weed growth. Performance is monitored once a month, and the occasional performance lapses have been remedied. The system is more expensive than the use of herbicides but Council made a decision to accept the increase in cost in order to reduce environmental and human health effects.
1997 Meeting of 14th May 1997. Agenda Item: 1997/98 Draft Annual Plan Submission. The board resolved:
THAT THE STATUS QUO IN REGARD TO THE MAINTENANCE OF PARKS AND BERMS IN THE MAUNGAKIEKIE WARD CONTINUE, THAT IS, THAT NO TOXIC CHEMICALS BE USED TO CONTROL VEGETATION
22.214.171.124 Effect of exposure
Most public exposure to herbicides that may be used by Auckland City is likely to be that of repeated low level doses through inhalation of drift or through skin contact in areas in which herbicides have been sprayed, rolled or wiped. For this reason the issue of chemical sensitivity is of particular importance and is reviewed below.
Dr Ziem (1994) reports common symptoms of chemical sensitivity to be unusual fatigue, difficulty thinking, impaired concentration, short-term memory losses, headaches (especially in the sinus area and with sinusitis), upper or lower respiratory system irritation, generalised aching in muscles, joints, or connective tissue, unusual thirst, palpitations and irregular heart beat. In children hyperactivity, attention deficit and behavioural changes are common.
Another avenue for toxicity from sprays to enter our bodies are the eyes, and all our school children had sore, red eyes. The moist surface area readily absorbs the chemical; also through their mouth as they exerted themselves on the sports day.
Upon formation of the supercity in 2010 the legacy Auckland City non chemical vegetation control was meant to be protected, as evidenced in the Auckland Transport(AT) document Use of Agrichemicals in the Road Corridors (undated), in their own words:
p2 AT is responsible for weed control in the road corridor. In undertaking this role, AT currently implements the legacy Council management practices within each legacy area. Weed control practices varied between Councils with one using only hotwater and mechanical removal, one using “Biosafe” and most making use of glyphosate. Questions have been raised regarding the safety and use of glyphosate for weed control in the road. A map of the legacy Council areas, Local Board boundaries and spraying methods is attached in Attachment 1.
p9 Compliance with the AC Policy is broader than just requiring the AT contractors to comply with the NZS specs. AT must also consider the other objectives in the policy.... By continuing to implement legacy practices, AT is complying with Objective 8… (bolding is ours)
However AT appears to be double-dealing because the yellow/green colour change of glyphosate can be observed around the streets including in Ellerslie which appeared to have had a glyphosate spraying in January 2016. The Weed Management Advisory sought the truth through an Official Information Act request, which revealed that every second spray in the legacy ‘safe’ areas, is a glyphosate spray added to the Biosafe mix. See below for an excerpt from the released document:
Bio safe (non Glyphosate herbicide) products are predominantly used in Central east. This is in accordance with Legacy Auckland City Council policy.
The mix ratios are 20 litres Bio Safe Concentrate to 300 litres of water.
For each second round of weed treatment, 2.1 litres of Glyphosate concentrate is added to the 300 litres of premixed Bio safe product . (Hana note: this mixture equals 700 mls per 100 litres of water - the SAME strength of glyphosate- only spraying!! See below for the South Eastern Arterial Route)
Subsequently the Weed Management Advisory issued the following press release which details the covert and insidious way AT has decided to contravene the Council’s 2013 Weed Management Policy.
Media Release – Monday 18 January 2016: An urgent public investigation and audit is demanded by Hana Blackmore of the Weed Management Advisory (WMA) after Official information Act documents reveal the extent of a chemical regime being unrolled across Auckland.
“We were truly shocked at the insidious way glyphosate use has spread across the city” she said. “The information detailed in the OIA material shows Auckland Transport sanctioning and permitting their contractors to subvert the legacy contracts in such a manner that no-one knows what is going on” she said.
“Yet they repeatedly state that where non-chemical legacy methods were being used, they are still being continued.”
The Report shows:
· Swathes of the city being sprayed 3-4 times a year with glyphosate that is being surreptitiously added to the ‘organic’ herbicide mix.
· Numerous roads pulled out of non-chemical treatment and sprayed with glyphosate instead
· Entire areas of the North Shore and inner city removed from traditional non-chemical treatments and sprayed with glyphosate instead.
· Hundreds of schools and early education centres being ‘specially’ treated with glyphosate instead of ‘organic’ herbicide.
· Supplementary sprays of glyphosate on a regular basis in all areas of the city
Not only do we have AT acting deceitfully but Auckland Council’s LTP 2015-25 recommends that use of chemicals be expanded:
Unpublished briefing paper for Auckland Council’s Budget Committee. Provides background information to support Long-Term Plan discussions on weed management methodologies in local parks, especially in maintaining grass edges. Controversial because it recommends expanding chemical treatment in parks across the region – contrary to its own 2013 Weed Management Policy.
To somewhat mitigate our history of the weed spraying debacle we include an uplifting excerpt from the Orakei Local Board’s feedback to the Weed Management Policy 2013:
8. The Board is concerned at the measures to be undertaken with regard to use of herbicides in residential areas, including protecting the public from spray mist….. The OLB endorses the view that communities should be able to ensure that weed control measures do not use herbicides which are injurious to health such as in controlling growth on grass berms, and supports those communities which seek to use non-chemical measures. By way of example, the Ellerslie community has had a long-standing opposition to chemical spraying.
And now to move on to the current news surrounding glyphosate, you may be aware that the World Health Organization and IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) has as recently as 2015 classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen. So far, over 10 countries have either completely banned or restricted the use of glyphosate. Two million people across Europe have signed petitions for banning the chemical in the last 12 months alone. Click here to see all the countries and cities as at June 2016 that had curtailed or banned glyphosate. Italy is most recent, most restricting. Also Malta, Sri Lanka, The Netherlands, Argentina.
The IARC report has provoked the chemical industry into fierce and dirty defence action, discrediting eminent scientists and making serious threats on the more prominent of them - both those who were part of the IARC glyphosate review team, and over 90 international scientists who came to their defence after industry-led attacks on their carcinogenicity decision.
Industry swagger is on full display in Washington where Monsanto and its friends at CropLife America are driving efforts to cut off U.S. funding for the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) after IARC scientists declared glyphosate a probable human carcinogen in March 2015. The industry is also demanding that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fully repudiate the IARC classification and green-light continued use of glyphosate herbicides, which spell billions of dollars in sales annually to Monsanto and the agrichemical brethren.
Not only is there industry entanglement in America’s EPA, New Zealand’s EPA is headed up by Alan Freeth, former CEO of PGG Wrightson. Last year PGG Wrightson took over exclusive wholesale rights to Monsanto's RU herbicide. The finding that glyphosate causes cancer is not new. Thirty years ago glyphosate was known to cause cancer plus a whole raft of other serious conditions, to say nothing of the debilitating and miserable symptoms that children and adult females (more than adult males) suffer.
To conclude, we have shown that Ellerslie has a well substantiated history of opposition to chemical spraying dating back 30 years and we achieved a legacy non chemical status for the streets and parks even prior to the Weed Management Policy 1999. It appears from OIA information, that this agreement has been breached and in light of the above body of evidence, we are deeply concerned about the current situation and would urgently like to go back to having non toxic vegetation management. The use of organic herbicides, hot water, steam and integrated approaches have been effective and risk-free. For 20 years Council itself proved that chemical-free public spaces can be done, and done well! This is not a political issue, it is a health issue.
1. From the Orakei Local Board which administers Ellerslie now, we urgently request the reinstatement of our legacy non chemical status in the streets. Ellerslie’s parks are non chemical, thanks to the Orakei Local Board honouring our legacy agreement. We note with appreciation the support of the Ellerslie Residents Association Resolution of 2-Sept 2016.
At the AGM of the Ellerslie Residents' Association attended by some 55 members, the following resolution was passed
RESOLUTION “That this meeting resolves that the 30 year old legacy ban on the use of chemical sprays in Ellerslie on the roads, verges, and in the sportsfields be continued and only non-toxic vegetation control methods be used.”Moved Edgar Henson; seconded Ron Seeto Carried with one dissenting voice. Jim Fiest asked that his dissenting vote be recorded.
2. We urge the Orakei Local Board to proactively support the Resolution that the people of Auckland have formulated which asks for regional funding for vegetation maintenance in public spaces eg. streets and parks. It is a regional health necessity to have non chemical vegetation control; spray mist/drift knows no boundaries.
Thank you for your time and consideration
Tel: 579 9638
Written for the Community of Michael Park School
Ps. Local Boards are recently in receipt of a memo 15-Nov.16 from Barry Potter Director Infrastructure and Environmental Services which is said, “provides a brief update on the current practice for weed management in parks and the road corridor and, improvements that are being made”. We must consider the integrity of this statement after reading the OIA information and the LTP briefing note above. Let’s call it what it is - this memo is fabricating. This is intolerable to honest citizens.
Weed management and vegetation control in the road corridor is the responsibility of Auckland Transport. AT has continued to use the same weed control methods as were done previously by the legacy council organisations. This means that weed control is carried out using chemicals (synthetic or plant-based), hot water or steam, or mechanical methods depending on location in Auckland.
If AC writes thus then we must hold them to it, that the legacy Ellerslie, Auckland City and North Shore are managed non chemically in the streets as per their legacy entitlement, and with a pesticide minimisation approach in the parks. This is a minimum requirement because nobody, anywhere, wants to be sprayed.
One eminent person from this Local Board told me, “Personally, I’m not big on chemical warfare.” We have great expectations of our Orakei Local Board stepping up to this issue of justice, transparency and health.