Toxic sprays on Bay dunes to continue

By John Cousins

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The killing power of agrichemicals ignited passions when the Tauranga City Council voted to improve how it implemented its toxic sprays policy.

Councillor Clayton Mitchell, who is New Zealand First's candidate for Tauranga, opposed the measures because of the impact sprays were having on the city's sand dunes.

The council was about halfway through the programme to remove encroachments by neighbouring residents into the coastal dunes, including getting rid of invasive plant species.

Cr Mitchell compared the sprays to napalm, saying they not only killed unwanted dune plants but also butterflies, birds and bees.

Mayor Stuart Crosby said Cr Mitchell was being emotive by using the word napalm. He said it could be argued that the dune environment was not a natural ecosystem and they were replacing these plants with something that was relevant.

The council heard how the dune-binding native plants were effectively preventing wash-outs in storms and that people who saw their backyards being sprayed should know about the success of the programme further up the coast.

Cr Mitchell was the only councillor at yesterday's meeting to oppose improvements to the operation of the toxic sprays policy.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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