MPI welcomes Crown appeal in Psa biosecurity case

A notice of appeal has been filed in the Court of Appeal against the High Court’s decision in the Psa litigation. The Crown appeal seeks to clarify the scope for government regulators to be sued in negligence.

A group of kiwifruit growers and post-harvest operators sued the Crown for what they allege is negligence in allowing the bacterial kiwifruit vine disease Psa-V into the country in 2010.

The Kiwifruit Claim group represents 212 growers.

Psa, a vine-killing disease, is estimated to have cost the industry close to $900m.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) does not accept the allegations and is defending the litigation.

The ministry notes that the High Court’s decision traverses events dating back 12 years, pre-dating the establishment of the ministry.

The ministry says it has confidence in the current biosecurity system and its continued robustness and says NZ 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.

In a statement issued today the ministry says:

“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.”

Because the matter will go before the Court of Appeal, it will be making no further comment.

More background on the case HERE.

Source:  Ministry for Primary Industries



Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog

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