Time For Auckland Transport to be controlled

Under the Super City Auckland Transport is designated as a “Council Controlled Organisation” (CCO). It is not, and never has been, “controlled”. Auckland Transport is a secret society, and a law unto itself.

I undertook to report in this issue what Auckland Transport (AT) is spraying on roadside berms throughout Auckland.

On 13 July I asked AT about their weed spraying protocols. I was promised a reply within 10 working days. On 8 August after 17 working days I had had no reply so I phoned again. I was promised a reply soon. By 20 August, as this Ponsonby News was due to go to press - still no reply after another eight business days.

Do you see what I mean by a secret society unaccountable to ratepayers or anyone else? The Weed Management Advisory (WMA) has had enough.

Hana Blackmore, for WMA, has produced a timeline back to 1986 of the sorry saga of attempts to ban glyphosate use or even attempts to find out the truth about its use. For example, evidence has shown that AT often purports to use organic Biosafe on city street berms, but laces it with glyphosate without ratepayer, let alone Auckland Council, knowledge.

Blackmore, “Aucklanders need to not only know their history but the truth of how they have been duped and placated with empty consultations and promises whilst the years slip by and yet another patsy plan like the proposed herbicide reduction working party
diverts us all down yet another cul-de-sac.”

The WMA Media Release of 25 July begins with this statement, “Years of unremitting and insidious manoeuvres to deflect and suppress community wishes and deliberately fudge, sidestep and evade implementing adopted policy are exposed in a shocking history of the use of chemicals for weed and vegetation control in Auckland.”

Not only has there been frighteningly little meaningful action towards implementing best -practice objectives that would remove chemicals from our streets and parks, but covert decisions have instead increased and entrenched their use, says the WMA report.

The WMA has mailed copies of the report to Mayor Goff and all councillors, making it clear that they finally need to do something.

Says Hana Blackmore, “We told them we will no longer sit around waiting for yet another budget round or annual plan or long term plan. As one passionate submitter on the health implications of chemical herbicide use said to the council’s governing body last September, "this is an emergency."

While this obfuscation continues at council and Auckland Transport, evidence is piling up that glyphosate (aka Roundup), particularly in formulations that use additional compounds like POEA which enhance the toxicity of glyphosate, is not only carcinogenic, but is an endocrine disrupter with potential to cause breast cancer later in life. Glyphosate has been linked to kidney damage, autism, respiratory illnesses and a wide group of reproductive problems - infertility, miscarriages, stillbirths and birth defects.

We cannot trust the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to protect us. They read from the song sheet of the US EPA, who has been exposed as using Monsanto - produced reports to justify its claim that glyphosate is a safe herbicide.

Why did the EPA ignore the world authority on cancer? Findings by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) have determined that glyphosate products are a probable human carcinogen.

Visiting US expert, Professor Don Huber’s message is passionate, articulate and science-based. He calls for the use of glyphosate and the proliferation of genetic engineering to be stopped before we sacrifice another entire generation by exposure to the most toxic herbicide on the planet.

The glyphosate issue is like big tobacco all over again, with continued denial of harm from manufacturer Monsanto. However, previously secret emails released in California in a case against Monsanto have proved that damaging reports of birth defects and other health effects associated with glyphosate have been hidden by Monsanto for years.

How much longer do Aucklanders have to wait before our elected politicians get the message, and listen to objective scientists and long suffering citizens rather than the billion dollar multi-national Monsanto? Let’s get behind WMA and stop the rot.

Another year has gone by with little council action, and another 22,000 babies, our most vulnerable citizens, have been born in Auckland. Let’s support them.

As we go to press Hana Blackmore has had her application rejected to address the Governing Body Meeting on 24 August over the public health consequences of council’s failure to act lawfully and fairly and implement nonchemical policy.

Spray Free Streets will be holding a protest. (JOHN ELLIOTT)