[29 April/Stuff]

New Zealand kiwifruit growers enjoy some of the best growing conditions in the world, but those conditions look set to bite back. Outbreaks of wild kiwifruit are threatening to carry diseases and harmful insects through the country’s native bush. The spread has caused it to be recognised as a pest. Kiwifruit Vine Health Analyst and Compliance Officer, John Mather, said his pest call was probably a first for an industry group. He added that wild kiwifruit not only impacts indigenous biodiversity and production of forestry, but it was also a reservoir for disease organisms. New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc. Chief Executive, Nikki Johnson, said kiwifruit grew well in New Zealand conditions. Mr Mather noted the fruit would find it easy to naturalise and spread. He emphasised how fruiting vines not managed properly were targeted by birds who eat the kiwifruit and then spread the seeds into areas of native bush.