Fruit-growing stakeholders are digesting a High Court ruling which they say confirms their concerns about a directive to destroy or contain imported plantings at the centre of a national biosecurity scare.

A group of five North Island growers had challenged the recent Ministry for Primary Industries order and a judicial review was held in Wellington last week.

The High Court judgement has not been released to the media yet, but a statement from the group yesterday said the judge found the MPI directions were unlawful and had directed it to reconsider.

The interim order to destroy or contain the imported plantings, which had come from a specific United States facility since June 2012 and could not be confirmed as being free of pests and diseases, applied for a further five days, but discussions with the MPI were now "under way", the group's statement said.


The group said its members were now reviewing the High Court ruling in detail.

Eight Central Otago stonefruit orchardists could be affected, though to what extent is unclear.

NZME also reported the nurseries and orchards affected could get compensation for the fruit tree seizures.

Reference to a clause in the Biosecurity Act under which the fruit trees were declared unauthorised goods was rejected by the judge, making compensation a possibility.