[7 June/Stuff]

Owners whose fruit trees were seized by the Ministry for Primary Industries may not be insured against losses or entitled to claim compensation if the trees are destroyed. A United States nursery was found to have exported 55,000 trees to New Zealand in 2013, but did not follow correct procedures. It seized the trees under section 116 of the Biosecurity act. New Zealand Plant Producers Chief Executive, Matt Dolan, said it was an unusual situation and he was not aware if insurance would cover it. He added that it was a massive blow to nurseries that risked losing the value of their trees. The seized plant material represented 10 years of investment in new variety development. MPI’s Director Plants and Pathways, Pete Thomson, said there was a possibility of the nurseries being compensated through ex gratia payments. Mr Thomson noted the company was still interested in exporting material to New Zealand, but it was a long road to go down.