18 Apr 2011

Kiwifruit industry divided over handling of PSA

12:46 pm on 18 April 2011

The kiwifruit industry is divided over the management of the PSA vine killing disease discovered in the Bay of Plenty last year.

Independent Kiwifruit Growers association chair Marcus Wilkins has told Parliament's Primary Production Select Committee that a Government-Industry partnership set up to respond to and manage the PSA incursion, has not worked well.

However, Zespri and KGI, the national growers body, say it has been very effective.

The select committee is currently considering submissions on the Biosecurity Law Reform Bill, which includes the introduction of Government-Industry Agreements to prepare and respond to harmful new organisms.

Mr Wilkins told the committee that he believes the bill is being rushed through with indecent haste because of the PSA response.

And kiwifruit grower Russell Baker told the committee that his experience with the Government-Industry Agreement and the handling of the PSA incident, gives every reason why GIA's should not be adopted.

One of his gold orchards was confirmed as having PSA in November last year.

But Zespri told the select committee that the incidence of PSA would be be worse without the agreement.

Global technical and innovation head David Tanner said the Ministry of Agriculture would not have had the capability to manage the incursion on its own.