10 Oct 2014

BoP meeting for kiwifruit class action

1:47 pm on 10 October 2014

Several hundred kiwifruit growers have attended a meeting in Bay of Plenty to find out more information about a class action lawsuit against the Government.

A group known as The Kiwifruit Claim is looking to sue the government for what it said is its negligent biosecurity - after the Ministry for Primary Industries let Psa-infected kiwifruit plant material into the country.

The bacterial disease proceeded to destroy a large chunk of the kiwifruit industry and inflicted hundreds of millions of dollars of losses on growers and communities.

Spokesperson for The Kiwifruit Claim Matthew Hooton said the growers were keen to hear for themselves the rationale behind the legal action.

"The first grower meeting was at Te Puke, I would say there were about 200 hundred growers there, and there was a really good discussion about the merits of the claim, the legal documents behind it, the chances of success, the potential risks and I think people went away better informed than they had been."

While some industry groups have warned the government could take revenge against the industry if it tries to hold it accountable for the Psa incursion Mr Hooton said that is not true.

"The government is defending its legal position obviously, the Prime Minister says that the government is confident it did absolutely everything correctly when it came to Psa but he says obviously he's happy for growers to have their day in court," Mr Hooton said.

Mr Hooton said any kiwifruit growers with any questions about the legal action can make contact through [www.thekiwifruitclaim.org its website]and their questions will be promptly answered.

The claim will be filed in court next week.