NZ Govt appeals High Court's decision on Psa negligence case

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NZ Govt appeals High Court's decision on Psa negligence case

New Zealand's Ministry of Primary Industries has appealed the High Court's recent decision in the Psa litigation, saying it seeks to "clarify the scope for government regulators to be sued in negligence."

In June the High Court found that MPI was negligent in allowing the devastating Psa disease into the country in 2009, in a class-action lawsuit case brought under the name The Kiwifruit Claim.

The court also ruled that MPI owed a duty of care to kiwifruit growers when carrying out its biosecurity functions.

Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters’ has said the government could be liable for up to NZ$800 million (US$540 million).

In a release, MPI said the court's finding traverses events dating back 12 years - pre-dating the establishment of the Ministry. It added that MPI is continually enhancing and improving the way it manages pre-border risk and import processes at the border. 

"We have confidence in our current biosecurity system and its continued robustness. New Zealand enjoys a high level of freedom from the most damaging pests and diseases as a result of the diligent actions of MPI officers, importers and others," it said.

"No biosecurity system in the world can prevent every pest incursion from happening, which is why our ability to manage risk offshore and respond to incursions if they occur are critical parts of the biosecurity system. A strong biosecurity system needs government, importers, industry and the public actively participating and acting to identify and manage risk.

"The Ministry considers the High Court finding has the potential to significantly impact on the Ministry's biosecurity operations. MPI takes its biosecurity responsibilities seriously, and while the decision is being appealed, it must still be applied in the interim. The impact of this for importers and others will be delays in decision-making."


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