You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Legal controls in place for myrtle rust

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 12/05/2017
© @MPI_NZ / Twitter

Plant nurseries at risk of myrtle rust infection in the Northland town of Kerikeri have been placed under legal control by the Ministry for Primary Industries.

The fungal plant disease was located in a Kerikeri nursery in early May, before spreading to a neighbouring residential garden.

No further cases of myrtle rust have been confirmed in the town, but the MPI has intervened to compel local nurseries to follow hygiene regulations and limit the risk of a larger outbreak.

All plant producers and retailers in the Kerikeri area, as well as 45 additional nurseries nationwide, must follow these protocols, which increase the chance of early myrtle rust detection.

More than 100 government staff are working to contain the spread, and have been handed a blank cheque for their mission.

"This should not require a significant change in the way the nurseries do business," MPI response director Geoff Gwyn said in a statement.

"It will, however, give them long-term certainty about how to effectively manage any risk associated with their business."

Myrtle rust attacks native trees, such as pohutukawa and rata, and could cause serious damage to manuka trees, used in honey production.

There is no known method for controlling it in the wild, other than applying fungicide in very small areas.

"We are still in full response to this situation and working to locate any other potential areas of infection out there," Mr Gwyn said.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon