The continuing spread of the devastating kiwifruit disease Psa in Hawke's Bay has left growers resolute but they are still upset at the cavalier actions of a Bay of Plenty grower, Hawke's Bay Fruitgrowers Association kiwifruit chairman Peter Olsen says.

News of two new cases of the crippling vine disease Psa this spring near Taradale had put growers in a "pretty average" mood.

He said local growers had been congratulated by disease control agency KVH officials for being proactive in controlling the disease.

"We were hoping that we may have been able to contain the disease, and even eliminate it from the two previous sites," Mr Olsen said.


"Unfortunately, we haven't been able to and we knew that spring time and the autumn were two crucial periods in the year when we were likely to see manifestations of Psa.

"Realism is the general feeling. In my opinion it is the biggest issue we face as growers and we've just got to keep on doing what we're doing."

He condemned the movement of kiwifruit plants from a Psa-infected area to Hawke's Bay in January, when Hawke's Bay was Psa free.

The protocol-breaking move was made by a major Bay of Plenty figure in the kiwifruit industry who had ordered thousands of plants from a Gisborne nursery. When Psa broke out in the nursery he decided to propagate them himself. He moved them through the Psa-positive Bay of Plenty to a Hawke's Bay nursery, incorrectly assuring the nursery that KVH protocols had been followed.

"Growers are pretty upset about that and I have sent the guy a couple of emails, just to verify and get his side of the story and confirm he was the person responsible.

"He has ignored my emails and I have passed my letter on to the local KGI [Kiwifruit Growers Inc] rep to take to the KGI forum," Mr Olsen said.

"We are pretty upset about his actions - it was a totally unnecessary thing to do.

"It put Hawke's Bay through unnecessary risk and my understanding is that it was purely for financial gain.


"He is a significant grower who should know better."

Mr Olsen said some of Hawke's Bay's 50 growers were sticking with the Psa-susceptible Gold Hort16A variety because they were enjoying high returns.

An alternative gold variety, G3, was more resistant but had less flavour and ideal growing conditions had not been determined.

"It is a tough decision to cut it out when you are being paid great money.

"The flavours and qualities of G3 will improve over time - 16A took many years to develop before it became a winner."

He said many growers had fenced and padlocked their orchards because of problems ensuring that visitors complied with sterilising protocols.

"We have had issues with power agencies coming on to properties - not notifying growers and bowling on up and doing their thing. They've been on to all sorts of properties - you don't know where they've been.

"All we are asking for is the courtesy of notification, so that we can implement our sterilising processes to minimise risk."

He said growers were resolute and encouraged by promising biological remedies being researched by Plant and Food.

"We are aware of the challenges before us but I personally believe there is a way through it. We will come out the other end.

"I think it is just a matter of time before it is just another pest issue we have to deal with."