Tuesday, 17 July 2018 10:55

Kiwifruit case setting a precedent?

Written by  Pam Tipa
Dr Nic Lees. Dr Nic Lees.

The kiwifruit claim decision in favour of growers has wide implications for biosecurity, says Dr Nic Lees, a senior lecturer in agribusiness at Lincoln University.

The decision is that MPI (Ministry for Primary Industries) had a “duty to exercise reasonable skill and care when undertaking their responsibilities in relation to biosecurity”, but that it had failed to exercise this skill and care, allowing the Psa disease into New Zealand in 2010, Lees told Rural News.

“This means MPI can be liable for its decisions on the importation of any product that may have biosecurity risks,” he says.

“In the past, MPI has done risk assessments on importing products but the risk of a biosecurity failure has rested with the industry, not MPI. This [decision] fundamentally changes that. Now MPI [and by proxy the Government] is legally liable for a biosecurity failure.”

The Government Industry Agreements (GIA) to some extent recognise this in that there is now joint risk in biosecurity breaches, Lees says.

“It is likely that MPI will be more cautions in their risk assessment on imported goods and more vigilant about incursions.

“Significant incursions [have occurred] recently: myrtle rust and Mycoplasma bovis, which indicate the need for more risk assessment of importation of plant and animal products and better surveillance. This decision and the GIAs are likely to help that.”

MPI said in a statement when the High Court decision was released that the 500-page document traverses events dating back 12 years, pre-dating the setting up of MPI and required a thorough examination. 

“Once we have completed consideration of the judgment, a decision will be made on whether to appeal.  That decision must be made by the Solicitor-General, not MPI.”

More like this

China back on track?

Life in China is starting to get back to some semblance of normality, according to MPI’s deputy director general of China Relations.

MPI says it will act

MPI says it takes the claims made by Jane Li seriously and where it has evidence that exporters are not meeting their requirements, it will take action.

Trusts to get extra help

MPI says it’s looking at increasing its support to Rural Support Trusts and other rural advisory groups.

MPI launches recruitment drive

MPI is set to launch a major advertising campaign to attract people to work in a range of jobs across the agricultural sector.

Featured

Water reforms come at a cost

The government’s new freshwater laws, signed off this week, have the potential to create significant unnecessary costs for ratepayers, farmers and entire communities, Federated Farmers says.

2020 harvest yields up

Final harvest data for wheat, barley and oats (milling/malting and feed) in 2020 show yields were up 17% overall across the six crops.

 

Difficult but the right call

DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle says the joint decision three years ago to eradicate Mycoplamsa bovis was a difficult call.

Milking cluster milks runner-up award

DeLaval has come away with the runner up prize in this year’s Fieldays Online innovation competition with a new milking cluster that eliminates the need for conventional liner changes.

Glow worms to cows

Thomas Lundman's work focus has gone from tracking tiny critters in pitch black caves to looking after considerably larger animals in paddocks near Whakatane.

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Spell check

Your old mutt was not surprised to see the NZ Dairy Industry Awards hastily remove the title of this year’s…

About time!

Your canine crusader has been a long-time critic of NZ governments – of all stripes – who, for the past…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter