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Kiwifruit class action headed to court

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 24/06/2017
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Seven years after the outbreak of vine disease PSA, a group of kiwifruit growers bringing a class action lawsuit against the government is set to have its day in court.

The 212 members of the group, calling itself the Kiwifruit Claim, will have their case against the Ministry of Primary Industries heard in the High Court in just over a month.

The 12-week trial will begin in Wellington on August 7.

The growers allege MPI's biosecurity services were negligent in not stopping the vine-killing disease's introduction into New Zealand in 2010 and say the industry lost more than $800 million as a result.

"There were growers who were wiped out, and faced with no crops and plummeting values of their orchards, lost their businesses, and were forced to sell at heavily discounted prices," claim chair John Cameron said.

MPI denies any allegation of negligence and says it acted "in accordance with its international obligations and with scientific knowledge available at the time".

It also argues it has immunity from civil lawsuits under the Biosecurity Act and that $25 million of government compensation was made available to growers.

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