[2 July/Farmers Weekly]

A High Court decision has upheld claims made by a group of kiwifruit growers’ that Crown negligence caused losses as a result of the Psa outbreak.  The decision could leave the Government exposed to a large compensation bill; growers that joined the claim have sought over $400 million in compensation. The ruling was a result of a multimillion dollar litigation process determining 212 growers were owed a duty of care by MPI in relation to biosecurity protection. The Psa strain was determined to be Chinese sourced. Kiwifruit claim representative, Grant Enyon, said the decision drew a line in the sand after a long and difficult eight years. He added the action was about seeking accountability for the incursion that devastated the industry. The Ministry for Primary Industries knew for many years Psa was a significant risk, he noted. Determining the level of compensation would be a long process. Any payout would only go to those 212 growers and if paid in full would amount to more than $2 million each.  The judge also ruled that MPI only owed a duty of care to growers and not to post harvest industry operators.