16 Mar 2010

Report highlights failings of Mapua clean-up - locals

4:06 pm on 16 March 2010

The Mapua Residents Association says a report on the clean-up of New Zealand's most contaminated site is further evidence of the failings of the project.

A report by the Health Ministry says there are negligible long-term risks to residents following the cleanup of the former Fruitgrowers Chemical Company site near Nelson.

The ministry says expert advice is that local residents would not have been exposed to high levels of emitted dioxins or other chemicals for long enough for it to cause any chronic health effects.

However, it says people living close to the site may have suffered some short-term problems from dust and vibration.

Mapua community association president Devin Gallagher says the report is rightly critical of the lack of health monitoring, as there was a lack of attention to health concerns during the cleanup.

Sherry Prauner says she suffered ill-health from exposure to chemicals. She believes the Ministry for the Envronment and the Tasman District Council were negligent throughout the cleanup and the report is a whitewash.

Nelson Public Health physician Jill Sherwood says lessons have been learned from the process - the first of its kind in New Zealand.