2 Oct 2014

Ex-kiwifruit leader joins lawsuit

5:36 am on 2 October 2014

A former president of New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated says new evidence has emerged which shows border officials were at fault for the outbreak of the deadly vine disease Psa, which devastated the industry in 2010.

Grant Eynon said he has joined the class action suit against the Government after seeing DNA evidence which shows that a shipment of pollen from China, which biosecurity officers cleared for entry into New Zealand in 2009, was the source of the outbreak.

Mr Eynon said he believes the growers taking court action have a high chance of success.

"People better qualified than myself have looked at it and said we've got a good case here and someone needs to be answerable for what's happened.

"Use you own opinion and see if you think there's a good chance you'll get some of your lost income back. Look at the bigger picture and think, crikey, we don't want foot and mouth getting into our country as well with the devastating effect that would have on the dairy industry, for example."

Mr Eynon is the deputy chairman of post-harvest operator Eastpack.

Psa first appeared in 2010 in an orchard on the outskirts of Te Puke and spread over the next two years. The cost of the vine-killing disease in 2012 was put at $885 million.

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