[20 March/NZ Herald]

The Ministry for Primary Industries confirmed that myrtle rust was detected in Manawatu for the first time. Myrtle Rust Response Spokesperson, Dr Catherine Duthie, said action would start immediately to contain the disease. She hoped that it was found early enough so that there was a chance to eliminate it. Dr Duthie added that it was sad that myrtle rust had been found in another region, but it was consistent with the expected infection pattern. She told residents they could help by checking myrtle plants in their garden as at this time of the year it would be very visible. Any suspected cases of myrtle rust can be reported to the biosecurity freephone number. As at 19 March, a total of 409 properties had been effected by myrtle rust in New Zealand.