Class action lawsuit over kiwifruit Psa outbreak
A class action by kiwifruit growers alleging negligence by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) when there was a Psa outbreak seven years ago is about to begin.
The 212 members of Kiwifruit Claim say the vine-killing disease cost the industry more than $800 million.
The trial starts in the High Court at Wellington on Monday and is expected to last for 12 weeks.
"What happened to the kiwifruit industry in October 2010 was entirely preventable," says Kiwifruit Claim chairman John Cameron.
He says MPI should never have allowed kiwifruit pollen to be imported into New Zealand and the Psa outbreak would not have happened if MPI had followed its protocols under the Biosecurity Act.
MPI denies all the claims, including that it has a duty of care.
Many growers are now only just beginning to get back to pre-Psa production levels after seven years.
Psa was first officially reported on a kiwifruit orchard in Te Puke on November 5, 2010 at 4:30pm.