8 Mar 2013

PSA payments to only two kiwifruit growers

6:37 am on 8 March 2013

Only two kiwifruit growers so far have been able to get rural assistance payments introduced by the Government three months ago for growers struggling financially due to the PSA vine dease.

In December the Government declared the PSA incursion a medium-scale biosecurity event and announced a package to support kiwifruit growers.

Then-Primary Industries Minister said the declaration was timed to give the maximum possible benefit to growers.

Among the support the package offered were rural assistance payments which would enable struggling growers to access the equivalent of the unemployment benefit.

A Work & Income spokesperson said that to date, two growers have received payments worth a combined total of $4000.

Industry members in Bay of Plenty say a grower needs to have lost absolutely everything in order to meet the criteria for the payments.

Last year, a University of Canterbury report into the economic impacts of PSA found it will cost the kiwifruit industry between $500 - $600 million over the next decade.