The Maritime Union of New Zealand has spoken out against the decision to allow the continued use of methyl bromide as a fumigant.
The Maritime Union has dismissed comments by global shipping line Maersk about the merger of Port of Lyttelton and Port of Otago.
The Maritime Union of New Zealand says it warned for years that opening New Zealand coastal and trans-Tasman shipping to international carriers would create biosecurity risks from exotic pests.
The Maritime Union has attacked comments by the group Stakeholders in Methyl Bromide Reduction (STIMBR) which downplays valid concerns about the use of the poison gas.
Maritime Union of New Zealand General Secretary Joe Fleetwood has condemned a statement from STIMBR (1 February 2010) entitled “Gas links with disease unfounded” that asserts there is no proof that methyl bromide is connected with motor neuron disease.
The Maritime Union of New Zealand says that new research on methyl bromide gas at the University of Canterbury is vital to ensuring workers and local residents are not at risk from the use of the toxic fumigant.
Maritime Union General Secretary Joe Fleetwood says the early reports of a possible link between methyl bromide and nerve damage, while not surprising, should make it clear that use of methyl bromide must be immediately stopped while further research is carried out.