Kiwfruit growers given green light to lodge PSA appeal

Kiwifruit growers said they felt aggrieved by that verdict.
Kiwifruit growers said they felt aggrieved by that verdict. Photo credit: File

A group of kiwifruit growers, which unsuccessfully sued the Government over the vine killing disease PSA, has been thrown a lifeline.

The disease arrived in New Zealand in 2010 and brought losses to the kiwifruit industry of an estimated $900m. A segment of growers have claimed the predecessor of the Ministry for Primary Industries were negligent and responsible for the disease's entry a decade ago.

The High Court partially backed their claim but that decision was overturned by the Court of Appeal in April.

The Court of Appeal ruled public officials may have been negligent, but they had statutory immunity from liability.

Kiwifruit growers said they felt aggrieved by that verdict and took the case to the Supreme Court.

In a judgement released yesterday, the Supreme Court has said the growers, who are backed by a specialist litigation funder, can lodge their appeal.

A spokesperson for the growers, John Cameron, said the group was very pleased with this outcome.

He said the group's legal team would now be going through the conditions of the appeal and preparing its submission.

Cameron added the legal dispute had been very long and costly, but he was very motivated to get a result for growers.

"We still have to go through financial losses and that can only be done after there is a ruling on liability and duty of care to the Government... so it's not over, but the principal of the case will be determined."