Government appeals High Court decision blaming MPI for letting PSA into New Zealand

The Government is appealing The High Court ruling that the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) were partly to blame for letting the kiwifruit disease PSA into the country.

The Government is potentially facing a half a billion dollar compensation to growers after the ruling.





Kiwifruit claim chairman John Cameron says the appeal means kiwifruit growers have a long and expensive road ahead of them to receive compensation.





"PSA devastated the kiwifruit industry and its impact was far reaching, not only on growers and their individual orchards, but on the New Zealand economy."

Over 200 kiwifruit growers faced huge losses due to the PSA outbreak.

The High Court ruled that MPI failed to take reasonable care when allowing pollen from China into New Zealand in 2009. The following year the industry was fighting to survive as the disease spread.

Justice Mallon said MPI relied on inaccurate tests and when the pollen reached New Zealand was probably not inspected and was "more likely than not the consignment that contained PSA and that ultimately caused the outbreak in New Zealand."

"We've had a really hard and expensive battle to get this decision. Some growers lost everything when PSA hit, their orchards and businesses, their life savings, and for many, the financial and emotional impact is ongoing," Mr Cameron says.

"Even for those that were able to survive, some suffered a complete loss of income for several years, taking on huge debts to replant their orchards."

The kiwifruit growers have until August 7 to counter the appeal.

MPI says they welcomed the appeal and is continually enhancing and improving the way it pre-border risk and import processes at the border are managed. 

They say the High Court finding has the potential to significantly impact on the countries biosecurity operations.

MPI will not comment further as the matter is now before the Court of Appeal.