Kiwifruit growers who say their livelihoods were decimated during the Psa outbreak have today filed an appeal to the Supreme Court to hold the Government liable for losses caused by the outbreak.
The move comes a month after the Court of Appeal decided to allow the Crown to appeal a High Court decision finding it partially liable over the Psa outbreak which devastated Bay of Plenty orchards and 2010 and 2011.
In June 2018, the High Court partially upheld a claim against the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) for failing to prevent the devastating disease from entering the country.
The claim was brought by Strathboss Kiwifruit Limited, which represented a class of 212 kiwifruit orchardists and Te Puke-based post-harvest operator Seeka.
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The kiwifruit growers - who are funded by litigation specialists LPF Group - have now taken the matter to the Supreme Court.
Psa3, a virulent strain of a plant disease that destroys kiwifruit plants, swept through kiwifruit orchards in the Bay of Plenty region in 2010.
Strathboss and Seeka alleged the Crown was liable to kiwifruit growers and post-harvest operators for granting an import permit in 2007 and renewing that permit in 2009 without undertaking a risk assessment, and for failing to inspect the consignment when it arrived in New Zealand.
The High Court found the Crown liable to Strathboss in relation to the grant of the import permit but cleared the Crown of liability for failure to inspect the pollen, and of liability to Seeka, the post-harvest operator.
In an April 9 decision, the Court of Appeal allowed the Crown's appeal "on the basis that the Crown has a statutory immunity precluding liability for the alleged negligent acts or omissions".