Govt refuses to accept blame for PSA outbreak
Wed, 04 Jul 2012 6:01p.m.
By Tova O'Brien
Nearly half the country's kiwifruit vines have been wiped out by PSA. Behind each of those vines there is a person, and their story of lost livelihood.
For nearly two years growers have been looking for someone to take responsibility.
It now seems that someone should be the Government.
“There were process failings here and the systems need to be improved. We clearly can do better,” says Ministry of Primary Industries director-general Wayne McNee.
An independent report into imports and border control found the ministry had no understanding of the risks to the kiwifruit industry, that it failed to respond to the outbreak, and that the Government, industry and scientists all failed to work together.
It says a PSA outbreak in Italy in 2007 was an opportunity to come up with a plan to fight the disease - and while Australia did, New Zealand did not.
“The report also found there was no way of being sure how PSA came into New Zealand. They're not sure at all that the shortcomings actually lead to the virus coming into New Zealand,” says Prime Minister John Key.
That's the Government's loophole to shrug off the blame and refuse to apologise.
“I don't think that's relevant really,” says Mr Key.
“My focus is working on implementing the recommendations of the report,” says Mr McNee.
“Look we don't know what caused this incursion,” he says.
The six recommendations made in the report will all be adopted. The Government would be silly not to given the strength of the accusations
But for the growers who've lost everything – $885 million over the next 15 years – this gesture will mean little if nothing at all.
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14/07/2012 4:37:01 p.m.
Trust has been boken!
5/07/2012 3:06:23 p.m.
This isn't a change that let PSA in, it is the ministry itself didn't know what it was doing. We expect better form our ministries.As for the changes in biosecurity which we are hearing about for imports of low risk goods, we are actually getting better security now than we were, just it is being done differently.Before it was all done by the ministry, some was done by qualified staff, some not. Now the checking is always requiing qualified staff.Now importers are required by law to get someone qualified, and be present throughout all containers being opened (vs the ministry spot checking b4) and while the container is unloaded. The site where the container is unloaded is also registered. If you know and business not following the rules - dob them in and they will get fined and have their certifcation revoked.This actually gives more people checking import contianers than we had, and every contianer being checked outside and in vs around 50% before of these same same containers. ie roughly 2x the biosecurity - not less as the media has claimed! It also gives the importers more flexibility and takes pressure off the ministry so they can target higher risk areas more.Lets learn from PSA and not let it happen again.
5/07/2012 2:01:23 p.m.
Yeah lets blame the govt.
Thats an easy one.
Or maybe the Kiwifriut industry could take some blame. They after all make how much in profit. why couldnt they put measures in place. Why should the govt have to fund all these wealthy industries
5/07/2012 10:17:39 a.m.
Total cover up! wrote:
I'm never eating kiwifruit again!i hate this govt
5/07/2012 9:57:25 a.m.
Hohn, hope this Government resign before the next election day due to all the damages caused since he was elected..
5/07/2012 8:26:12 a.m.
Of course the Governments public sector reforms, reducedfunding and biosecurity staff layoffs had nothing to do with the psa outbreak or did it.
As the buck stops with the Minister he should be called on to resign anheld accountable for the cost of this breach of biosecurity.
4/07/2012 9:25:29 p.m.
"the ministry had no understanding of the risks to the kiwifruit industry,"
Sounds like grounds for an apology to me, but not to John "loophole" Key. How long until the next election?
4/07/2012 7:37:16 p.m.
You get what you vote for.
If you vote for people who believe that running things cheaply is always the same as running them well, this is what you get: staff reductions, shortcuts, failings.
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