More than 200 kiwifruit farmers are getting their day in the court seven years after a devastating PSA-V outbreak decimated the industry in 2010.

The Kiwifruit Claim, representing 212 farmers, seeks to hold the Government and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to account for the significant losses suffered by growers.

The group's case is scheduled to appear in the High Court in August.

Chairman John Cameron said growers' lives and livelihoods were ripped apart by the outbreak, and for many the impact was ongoing.


"There were growers who were wiped out, and faced with no crops and plummeting values of their orchards, lost their businesses, and were forced to sell at heavily discounted prices.

"Those that survived often suffered a complete loss of income, taking on huge debts to replant. Many growers are now only just beginning to get back to pre-PSA production levels after seven years."

The kiwifruit claimants said MPI should never have allowed kiwifruit pollen into New Zealand.

"Put simply, the PSA outbreak in October 2010 would never have happened if MPI had followed its own protocols under the Biosecurity Act," Cameron said.

Shortcuts were made by MPI in the consideration about whether pollen should be legal to import in 2007 and a proper risk assessment was never made, Cameron claimed.

"Then in 2008, despite MPI officials receiving notification about the outbreak of a virulent strain of PSA in Italy, MPI never reviewed its assessment, and still failed to take any steps to ban the importation of kiwifruit pollen - it issued a permit to import pollen in 2009 from China."

MPI has denied all claims against it.