Human Rights

Dr Tom Kerns













New Zealand Aerial Spray Assignment
and Discussion Questions



Another case you will be discussing this week is the two-year aerial pesticide spray programme conducted by the New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) over urban areas of Auckland in 2002-04 in an effort to control the Painted Apple Moth.

This assignment involves four elements:

  1. Do a little research, probably on the web but maybe in libraries too, and see what you can discover about this two-year urban aerial spray programme and its impacts on citizens. You will also want to look into the community based People's Inquiry (on which I served as one of the four commissioners) that met for five days in 2006 to hear testimony about that spray programme and its effects on the community.

    Probably the best place to start your search will be the website for the People's Inquiry and the 2007 report issued by the commissioners. You may want to review some of the written testimony submitted to the Inquiry by affected citizens and by various experts as well. It may also be helpful to search MAF's website, to get a feel for their understanding of the PAM situation.

    Post a paragraph or two describing to classmates what you have discovered about this spray program and its effects, and what you understand the issues to be. (Be sure to include citations describing where you found your information.)

  2. Say a few words about what ethical issues come to mind for you in reading about this event.

  3. If you had to frame some of those ethical issues in terms of human rights norms or violations, what rights would you see as particularly relevant?

    It may help with this question to look over some of the reports available on the People's Inquiry website., as well as the report issued by the Inquiry's commissioners. Part III of that report (which I authored) addresses the human rights dimensions of the spray programme.

  4. Discuss each other's responses to these DQs.