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Kiwifruit Growers Reluctantly Cross-Appeal PSA Decision

Media Release: 7 August 2018

A cross-appeal has been filed today by the Kiwifruit Claim over the landmark decision which found MPI completely failed to do its job and was negligent in letting PSA into New Zealand.

Kiwifruit Claim Chairman John Cameron is calling on the Government to accept the comprehensive High Court decision which found that MPI was responsible for the PSA outbreak, and says that growers have been left with no choice but to cross-appeal after the Crown decided to appeal following its loss.

“We were gutted with the Government’s move to appeal, it was devastating to growers.

“We are confident in the High Court’s decision, and believe the Government is taking a massive risk in appealing the Judge’s clear findings. Enough is enough - it’s time for MPI to accept full responsibility. The Psa incursion caused significant losses to many growers and others and could easily have been avoided if MPI had done their job properly.

“The cross-appeal we’ve filed today challenges the decision that the Government did not owe a duty of care to Seeka as a post-harvest operator. Seeka suffered massive financial losses during the Psa outbreak, and if we are successful liability will escalate considerably.”

“It will also confirm that MPI was negligent when they failed to inspect the shipment of banned kiwifruit plant material, infected with Psa, when it arrived from China. MPI told the court that inspection was required under the Biosecurity Act and under their own regulations, and admitted that they failed to inspect the package.

Mr Cameron adds “MPI failed the kiwifruit growers and in the Judge’s own words the wrong should be remedied and it is just, fair and reasonable that MPI take responsibility for their actions and losses they have caused.

“The decision that MPI was negligent was very clear. If they don’t owe a duty of care in this case then they never will.

“Growers were in tears when the High Court decision came out. We’ve had to fight a long and expensive battle to finally get some accountability for what happened. These growers are not getting any younger, and since the claim was filed, a number have died.

“We remain committed to fighting the Government and MPI for growers to be properly compensated for the losses MPI has caused.” he said. “We have offered to settle this case but the Government has declined numerous approaches which would have saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and allowed everyone to move on.”

ENDS

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