At last, after eight long years, all weed and vegetation control operations in the city will revert to one contract under Council’s community facilities. Details released to the Local Boards in late April confirm that the Project Streetscapes programme has changed significantly. The extra services allocated to the full facilities contracts will mean all berm mowing and weed management across the full road corridor will now include rural as well as urban roads. It has been a long road!! getting to this point, and there is no doubt congratulations are due to the new weed management team at Auckland Council. It is listening and is working with the community and the Local Boards. At last we have the opportunity to reduce and finally eliminate all chemicals in our public spaces. Read all about it. (15 May 2018)
A dozen articles and radio interviews have been recorded since the NZ publication of Jodie Bruning and Steffan Browning’s Report, Public Health Concern: Why did the NZ EPA ignore the world authority on cancer? The news that the European parliament had, first, voted to ban glyphosate in public places, and then failed to reach a consensus to renew glyphosate’s licence due to expire in December 2017, increased the public reaction here in NZ. These interviews are stark and clear. On one side we have the EPA’s Chief Scientist, Dr Jacqueline Rowarth – defender and apologist for glyphosate – and on the other, well, actually, everyone else. Make up your own mind. (Published as at 15 November 2017)
New research from New Zealand confirming that the active ingredient in common herbicides like RoundUp and 2,4-D causes antibiotic resistance is detailed in a Media Release from the University of Canterbury. Coming in World Antibiotic Awareness Week the implications are hugely relevant and timely. As Professor Heinemann notes antibiotic resistance is the cause of nearly a million additional deaths worldwide from infectious diseases. Researchers are concerned that sub-lethal effects are not being considered when regulators decide if they are safe for use. (17 November 2017)
Once again frustrated citizens have been forced to protest as the only way their voice can be heard on their concerns about the continuing use of carcinogenic chemicals in the city. Hana Blackmore of the WMA reports on what led up to the protest at the Governing Body meeting on 24 August 2017, and why this was their only democratic option left. (31 August 2017)
The WMA finally publish their History and Timeline of Auckland’s use of chemicals for weed management and vegetation control. Compiled from the WMA records, the history was nearly 18 months in the making. By retrieving and re-examining historical documents and reports, news and stories and putting them into a timeline has not only exposed the relentless actions of the “chemical lobby” over decades, but the covert decisions that have been made that have increased and entrenched chemical use since the formation of the Auckland Supercity. (27 July 2017)
Auckland Councillors at the last Regional & Strategy Policy Committee meeting of their term roundly reject the Mayor’s proposed review of the Weed Management Policy in favour of properly implementing it. An amendment for a total moratorium on glyphosate use in public places is strongly supported but ruled out of order on a technicality. But in a move that delights the public in attendance, councillors resolve to express their unanimous concern about the use of glyphosate to the incoming council. (1 September 2016)
Mayor brushes aside thousands of petitioners not to mention his own councillors and Local Board Members. In an ill-natured autocratic move in the dying days of his office, Mayor Brown uses his power, not to do the right thing and protect the health and welfare of the people of his ‘liveable’ city, but to back the illegitimacy of continued chemical use by offering up Council’s weed management policy for ‘review’. (7 July 2016)
A heated exchange at an Auckland Council meeting highlights the debate over what some councillors see as a deliberate attempt by the Mayor to pacify petitioners that the chemical glyphosate is safe. In their press release the councillors reject as unnecessary, the Mayor’s proposal to review the policy that is meant to minimise chemicals. They repeat their call to stop what they say is now the wholesale chemical spraying of most parks, playground and streets across Auckland. ( 7 July 2016)
Georgina Blackmore of Spray Free Streets presents a 3,700 signature petition to Auckland Mayor Len Brown calling on him to ban the use of glyphosate (aka Roundup) on Auckland’s roads and parks.
At a private meeting with Mayor Brown Ms Blackmore said that his guarded response made it clear that he will continue to use of this carcinogenic chemical. Appeals to properly implement Auckland’s Weed Management Policy were met with a response that everyone had a different interpretation of the way the Policy should be implemented and he proposed to clarify that. Ms Blackmore said “Offering to debate the policy is a poisoned chalice disguised as meaningful engagement”. See more – (30 June 2016)
Public Meeting sees the establishment of a new Auckland group – SprayFreeStreets.
SFS will focus on all actions – including direct actions – needed to finally remove glyphosate from all streets and parks in Auckland. The well-attended meeting of over 100 people hear from pesticide expert Dr Meriel Watts and Green MP Steffan Browning, together with councillors and local board members.
An open letter is launched and signed by those in attendance demanding all candidates for the upcoming local elections state their views on nonchemical weed and vegetation management. See letter here (2 June 2016)
Legitimate debate was shut down by Auckland Council on Friday 13 May 2016 in a ruthless manoeuvre to keep concerns about carcinogenic chemical use in the city out of the public eye and off the agenda. Hana Blackmore reports on what happened, because in a further cowardly and undemocratic act, the live webcast of the proceedings was expunged from the council website within hours. (15 May 2016)
Auckland councillors John Watson and Wayne Walker issue media release warning that Auckland Council’s increase in the use of chemical sprays is alarming and has no public mandate. They say that a refusal to allow an amendment to be discussed amounted to not only an abuse of the democratic process, but a determination to persist with the roll out of more chemicals. (15 May 2016)
Physicians and Scientists for Global Responsibility call for a ban on the use of Glyphosate
In September 2015 Physicians and Scientists for Global Responsibility forwarded their comprehensive glyphosate paper to Auckland Transport. They noted that studies continue to be released questioning the safety of using glyphosate, and call on NZ’s central and local government and regulatory authorities to ban the application of glyphosate-based herbicides. (Sept 2015)
IARC Releases its full Monograph on Glyphosate – 31 July 2015
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has released its full Monograph on Glyphosate. You can access the 92 page Monograph for free together with the Preamble. Here’s the IARC announcement and links:
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is pleased to announce that the IARC Monograph on the herbicide glyphosate is now available online. After a systematic review and evaluation of the scientific evidence, the Monograph Working Group classified glyphosate as probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A). This classification is the result of a year-long evaluation by leading independent experts without conflicts of interest, who reviewed all pertinent, publicly available scientific literature on the carcinogenicity of glyphosate. The established procedures and criteria for the selection, evaluation, and integration of evidence used in developing a Monograph are provided in the Preamble to the IARC Monographs.
Download the Glyphosate Monograph
Human Rights Report Presented to Auckland Mayor Len Brown
Hana Blackmore and Dr Meriel Watts of the Weed Management Advisory formally presented the Mayor with a copy of the Human Rights Impact Assessment of Auckland Transport’s road corridor vegetation control.
After a productive half hour meeting discussing weed management techniques, costings and the implications of the latest WHO reclassification of the chemical glyphosate, the Mayor is also presented with a “no surprises” copy of the WMA’s Open Letter which calls on the Mayor and the Chairman of Auckland Transport to urgently work together to get this carcinogenic chemical off the roads and parks of Auckland immediately. 9 April 2015
Transcript and video webcast of Dr Meriel Watts and Hana Blackmore’s urgent submission to Auckland Council’s Regional Strategy and Policy Committee. Last year the WMA had sought an opinion on whether human rights were being violated by continuing to expose people to the adverse human health and environmental impacts of the toxic chemical glyphosate, sprayed on roadsides, parks and reserves. The resulting Human Rights Impact Assessment presented at the meeting confirmed a significant number of international human rights norms of concern. Such concerns being elevated by the latest scientific evidence, detailed for the committee by Dr Watts, on the re-classification of glyphosate as a “probable carcinogen”. She concludes that it would be unconscionable to continue to expose Aucklanders on a virtually daily basis to a known carcinogen, and calls for an immediate ban on all use in public places. 2 April 2015
Video – Toxins Action Group calls for Glyphosate to be Banned for Weed Control
Sharon Byron-McKay– spokesperson for Devonport Toxins Action Group – gives a comprehensive presentation to Auckland Council’s Regional Strategy and Policy Committee – speaking out to keep Devonport chemical free. Sharon deals with a number of issues that need to be addressed and expresses concerns about the proposed change in Council policy to increase the use of chemicals by cutting the use of mechanical weed control. She implores the committee to recommend to Council that further use of glyphosate should be banned for weed control and that a more sustainable nonchemical method of weed control be enshrined in policy. She is accompanied by Corrine Sellers who is studying the link between autism and the micro bio for her PhD in microbiology at Auckland University. Corrine speaks of the need to reduce all forms of chemicals from the food of autistic children, and focuses on the health risks of using glyphosate. 5 Mar 2015
Watch the video here:
Hana Blackmore for the WMA delivers a hard-hitting address to the Board in her presentation of WMA’s Human Rights Impact Assessment of Auckland Transport’s Road Corridor Vegetation Control. Speaking to the Board at its last meeting of the year, Hana said the HRIA confirmed that AT was violating human rights by continuing to expose people to the toxic chemicals they spray on the roads in their vegetation control programmes. The WMA had commissioned the Report because they had become deeply disturbed by the inability of AT to acknowledge, let alone respond to, the needs of people to be safe and secure from the adverse health effects of the chemical sprays. 16 Dec 2014
The official launch of WRAP this week kicked off with a tour of the Waiheke eco-village property where not a drop of herbicide has been used for 20 years. At a time of budget constraints, owner and panel member Rob Morton says people need to think about how nature can help to resolve its own weed infestation problems. An uplifting and positive story of what can be done without chemicals, and a constructive example for the work WRAP is undertaking in restoration and regeneration without the use of sprays. 4 Dec 2014
Gulf News 4 Dec 2014 http://www.waihekegulfnews.co.nz
Dr Watts speaks out about her frustration at the continued use of ‘toxic’ herbicides by Council Park Rangers in Whakanewha Regional Park, which she says breach Council policy to use chemicals only as a last resort. “It’s ugly, it’s unnecessary and it’s destabilizing the environment.” Waiheke Board Chairman says the board has a spray-free policy that reflects widespread concern about the health and environmental risks of chemicals. He also warns that Council propose to slash budgets by removing non-chemical control in all parks and reserves and cementing this change into its 2015-2025 Long Term Plan. He outlines alternatives that he believes offer greater savings and better results. 20 Nov 2014
When Cheltenham residents found out that Auckland Council proposed to spray their local sports field with the chemical herbicide glyphosate, residents took action. Within a couple of weeks all their hard work researching, lobbying, petitions and address to the Local Board resulted in an outstanding success. A meeting was organised on site with local board members, the Park’s sports turf advisor and a private contractor who specialises in non-chemical weed treatment. By the end of the day and only 12 hours before the spraying was scheduled to begin, it was agreed to use hot water treatment sponsored by Biothermal Technologies instead of glyphosate. 14 Nov 2014
See online at: http://devonportflagstaff.co.nz/News.html
Two dams in the Hunua Ranges which supply water to Auckland were closed for four months in mid-2014 when a toxic herbicide was detected in two lakes after nearby forestry blocks were aerially sprayed with the herbicide metsulfuron. Only when a whistleblower contacted the newspaper, the NZ Herald, was this contamination made public. Watercare said the likely cause was run-off from surrounding blocks as a result of unexpected heavy rain two days after spraying, but the toxic herbicide was still being detected in the water for two months after the initial application. 14 Oct 2014
An independent aborist, Paul Kenny, has discovered that Mount Maunganui’s ailing Norfolk pines were poisoned by spray used by Tauranga City Council to control prickleweed in the grass beneath the trees. He thinks the brushkiller spray Picloram is absorbed by the trees in the first rain or irrigation after spraying, which washes the residue into the sandy soils where they are taken up by the trees’ root systems. Paul credits the discovery of the link to the council’s toxic agrichemical policy. It is the only council in the country that logs use of agri-chemicals, and a detailed database going back several years states which chemicals were used, as well as where and when. 1 Oct 2014
Auckland Transport (AT) has confirmed that the chemical weedkiller, Glyphosate (Roundup), will continue to be sprayed on Hibiscus Coast roadsides despite ongoing protests from Albany Ward Councillors. AT has told them that the hot water method (which is already being used on part of the contract area) cannot be used “until there is a change to Council’s Weed Management Policy, or adequate budget is made available for more expensive methods”. 15 Sep 2014