NZ: Court allows Crown appeal against Kiwifruit Claim decision

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NZ: Court allows Crown appeal against Kiwifruit Claim decision

New Zealand's Court of Appeal has allowed the Crown's appeal against a High Court decision that found against it over the outbreak of the disease Psa that devastated Bay of Plenty orchards and 2010 and 2011.

In June 2018, the High Court partially upheld a claim brought by Strathboss Kiwifruit Ltd, representing a class of 212 kiwifruit orchardists, and Te Puke-based post-harvest operator Seeka, against the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) for failing to prevent the devastating disease from entering the country.

The kiwifruit growers - who are funded by litigation specialists LPF Group - said they would appeal today's decision and that they would take the matter to the Supreme Court.

Psa3, a virulent strain of a plant disease that destroys kiwifruit plants, swept through kiwifruit orchards in the Bay of Plenty region in 2010.

The disease could not be eradicated and it took several years for the industry to re-establish itself.

Psa3 was said to have been introduced to New Zealand by a consignment of kiwifruit pollen imported into New Zealand from China for the new use of commercial artificial pollination of kiwifruit orchards.

Strathboss and Seeka alleged that the Crown was liable to kiwifruit growers and post-harvest operators for granting an import permit in 2007 and renewing that permit in 2009 without undertaking a risk assessment, and for failing to inspect the consignment when arrived in New Zealand.

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