Kiwifruit growers could take legal action
Thu, 05 Jul 2012 5:13a.m.
Kiwifruit growers could mount a legal case against the Government's biosecurity agency, in the wake of a review that criticised systems that let in a virus that devastated the industry.
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) released an independent report yesterday which said shortfalls in biosecurity checks and import requirements for kiwifruit and horticultural equipment were largely to blame for the incursion of the bacterial Psa vine disease in 2010.
PSA symptoms were first discovered at a Te Puke orchard in October 2010 and its presence was confirmed by the former Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) two weeks later - but it was too late to stop it spreading to kiwifruit orchards across the top half of the North Island, costing growers millions of dollars.
MAF was too slow to respond once the disease was detected, staff failed to recognise kiwifruit pollen could carry PSA and imports from PSA-affected countries should have been halted.
The report found the import requirements for pollen were inadequate, but said kiwifruit industry body Zespri was also partly to blame for that, recommending better communication between the industry, MPI and researchers in future.
The New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc (NZKGI) group, which represents 2700 growers, is taking legal advice on the report, "to ascertain if we should take any further action", president Neil Trebilco says.
"Many growers have lost all, or part, of their livelihoods as a result of PSA coming into New Zealand. As the grower representative organisation, it is NZKGI's job to consider all possible options for growers impacted by Psa."
The report comes just weeks after a Queensland fruit fly was found in Auckland, and Mr Trebilco says both incidents show how critical it is that biosecurity is properly resourced.
Zespri issued a brief statement yesterday, saying it notes that it and the industry "could have been more proactive with [MAF] in underlining the significance of the threat PSA posed to the New Zealand kiwifruit industry prior to November 2010".
The organisation was considering the review and would discuss it with growers over the coming weeks.
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30/07/2012 2:08:47 p.m.
... and what about all the other businesses who support the kiwifruit industry, we are also negatively affected by PSA, first time in our history business is dead so who can help us?
6/07/2012 6:05:57 a.m.
Nick Bamford wrote:
Increasing trade from countries such as China and India, both with poor biosecurity systems at their end add to the chance of incursion here. Funding to MAFBNZ has been cut or spread to thin i.e. recent "low threat" country of origin containers not been checked. If anything MAFBNZ need more staff to avoid another PSA type problem becoming establised.
5/07/2012 11:09:13 a.m.
i think that its horrible when these things happen I also think the fixation with making some-one pay seems to over-ride the amount of energy put into fixing things and cutting down the chances of these things happening in the future. Surely growers have a stock insurance to cover unexpected losses?
5/07/2012 11:03:14 a.m.
We get almost everything from China from so why not PSA.
5/07/2012 9:34:06 a.m.
Fair enought !!! SUE THEM ... The incompetence of these overpaid buerocrates sitting on there butts doing nothing constructive makes everyone want to avoid paying their taxes..!! Heads should roll !! Importation of Pollin etc should have never been allowed... If they didn't know it was dangerous, why are they in a job ???? Cheers, James.
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