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General Manager Appointed to Lead Kiwifruit Industry Body

Kiwifruit Vine Health Inc.
Issued: 3:30 PM
13 December 2010

General Manager Appointed to Lead Kiwifruit Industry Body

The Board of Directors of Kiwifruit Vine Health Inc. (KVH) today confirmed the appointment of Mr John Burke to the role of General Manager. Mr Burke will take up the position immediately and lead the industry’s response to Psa and the development of the long term pest management strategy.

“We are pleased to announce the appointment of Mr John Burke to the role of GM,” said Peter McBride, Chairman of KVH. “We had a number of extremely strong candidates for the role and as a Board our primary objective was to appoint an individual that would provide focussed leadership for the industry.” Key selection criteria included demonstrated leadership, operational management, financial management and a track record for building strong stakeholder relationships.

“Mr Burke has a comprehensive understanding of the industry and the broader biosecurity framework and we are confident that he will be able to drive this industry through the current issue and ensure a strong and viable future for all New Zealand kiwifruit growers,” added Mr McBride.

Mr Burke, a kiwifruit grower himself, a rural consultant and an active industry member, previously held the position of CEO at Te Awanui Huka Pak Ltd., prior to the sale of Huka Pak to Seeka Kiwifruit Industries.

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“I fully recognise the serious challenges that lay ahead for KVH and am exhilarated about being part of the solution for the New Zealand industry,” said Mr Burke. “Upon stepping into this role with KVH, I’d like to recognise the excellent work that has been done to date to coordinate a fast and efficient response to the identification of Psa. The benefits of a united industry really come to the fore at a time of crisis and set the benchmark for other industry responses. I am proud to be a part of this entity and to continue the great work,” added Mr Burke.

The KVH GM role is pivotal in leading the industry’s response to Psa moving forward. Mr Burke’s priority is to meet with Psa-affected and non-affected growers alike, industry partners and MAF officials to fully understand the Psa situation in New Zealand and drive the industry response and grower support strategies. Already great headway has been made in getting an accurate picture of the Psa infection as well as setting in place revised orchard management practices to control the spread of Psa in New Zealand.

By establishing KVH as an independent body, KVH will be able to cost effectively utilise existing resources and link in with industry networks in order to communicate with all New Zealand kiwifruit growers and keep them informed of research developments, orchard practices and industry support funding processes.


Editors Note:

About Kiwifruit Vine Health Incorporated
Kiwifruit Vine Health Inc. (KVH) was established following agreement of the Industry Advisory Council (IAC) for a separate, independent pan-industry organisation to lead the Psa response moving forward.
KVH was registered as an incorporated society on 6 December 2010. It will operate as a non-profit organisation to:
implement the aggressive containment strategy for Psa in New Zealand, including negotiation of funding agreements and making financial assistance payments to growers; and
develop and implement a long-term pest management and monitoring plan for Psa
The KVH Board of Directors was appointed by the members of the IAC and includes representatives from all key industry groups including ZESPRI, New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc. (NZKGI), Post-harvest suppliers and MAF Biosecurity NZ.
A Transition Project Team is currently managing the transition to KVH and during this period, information from KVH Inc. will be distributed to the industry via ZESPRI’s existing grower communications channels and packhouse technical and grower service representatives.

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