Photo: John Hawkins Stuff
Thanks to a reader this came to my attention. It had slipped under my radar. I’ve followed the spraying carry on that all of our councils do, fixated on tidy roadsides they spray everything to the hilt, hence the yellow ditches all along the way when you travel. I think they look untidier than long grass quite frankly but spray they must it seems. Small wonder most of our populations now test positive for glyphosate in their bloodstreams. What was sprayed in Southland here in the article was metsulfuron methyl. Spraying everything with chemical poisonous herbicides is standard practice in NZ even though there are non toxic alternatives. You can read up on glyphosate on our Glyphosate pages. The properties of the chemical used in Southland is referred to in the article. To read more PANANZ is a good site.
Anyway it appears in Southland the roadside harakeke (flax) bushes got sprayed, now they’re a ‘nice’ yellow colour instead of green. Southlanders got up in arms and good on them. Have a read about the Southland massacre:
Southlanders protest the great flax massacre
31 Oct 2017
It’s been described as the great flax massacre, and dozens of Southlanders have packed into the Orepuki Tavern to protest against it.
Members of the public filled the tavern for a public meeting on Tuesday, opposed to the long stretches of the Southern Scenic Route which are now lined with browning dead flax bushes.
Attendees expressed concerns about the aesthetic impact on the Southern Scenic Route and tourism, the possibility of the herbicidal spray entering the public water supply, and dangers to animal life and biodiversity.
Resident Louise O’Callaghan said she understood the need to keep drainage channels clear but was concerned about the amount of chemicals being used to kill flax, after driving past the spraying vehicle in April.
“I was flabbergasted, my friend and I stopped, did a U-turn and drove back,” she said.
“The time spent on one flax bush was just incredible, as was the volume of spray.”
She was also worried about chemicals escaping into the water supply, saying manufacturers of herbicidal treatments with metsulfuron methyl warn that it is very toxic to aquatic organisms and to soil.
Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker says NZ Transport Agency to act on whacked flax
13 Nov 2017
Southern scenic route motorists will once again be able to enjoy the green, green grass of home after the NZ Transport Agency agreed to clean up the aftermath of the great flax massacre.
Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker said he had received confirmation that the transport agency would be removing dead flax between Riverton and Clifden.
He was pleased with the decision, saying “It’s been an emotive issue in the community, so this is a great result”.
“I’m thrilled the NZTA has come to the party and agreed to remove the majority of dead flax in their area of responsibility.”
Walker was also pleased the agency would work with local iwi to protect flax on the Southern Scenic Route, saying “The Southern Scenic Route is our shopfront window for tourists”.
“Flax is not a weed, it’s an important part of the cultural and economic history of our country.”
Flax bushes past the Clifden suspension bridge were the responsibility of the Southland District Council.