Sunday, May 9, 2021
Times of Georgia
HomePoliticalGovernment Settle Kiwifruit Negligence Case

Government Settle Kiwifruit Negligence Case


Today, twelve years after PSA first devastated the
kiwifruit industry, the Government has finally agreed to
compensate the Kiwifruit Claim growers who suffered
significant losses as a result of MPI’s negligence when
they allowed the deadly PSA disease into New
Zealand.

Kiwifruit Claim Chairman, John Cameron said
the $40m settlement concludes what has been a very long,
hard, and stressful fight for the kiwifruit growers who are
part of the claim.

“This settlement provides some
compensation to growers whose livelihoods were devasted by
the biosecurity incursion, and very importantly we also
achieved what we set out to do which was to hold the
Government accountable for its negligent actions which
caused the PSA outbreak.

“This was a very tough
decision,” said John Cameron. “Our case was meritorious
and deserving but we understand litigation is extremely
risky and uncertain even for cases with such strong facts
such as this one. While both the High Court and the Court of
Appeal confirmed MPI was responsible for the incursion, the
Court of Appeal found the Government was not liable for the
losses.”

“The Kiwifruit Claim Committee explored
every option to ensure the growers got the best outcome and
after consulting with our legal team and obtaining further
independent legal advice, we were advised to accept this
settlement given the inherent risks associated with our
claim.

Mr Cameron adds “What happened to the
Kiwifruit industry in 2010 was entirely preventable – MPI
knew PSA existed, they knew the damage it could cause if it
was let into the country and they breached their own
protocols that were in place to keep it out. It is critical
our primary industries can rely on our Government to perform
their biosecurity role with reasonable care and skill; we
don’t want to ever see this happen again.”

“We
would like to acknowledge the hard work from our legal team
and the enormous commitment and support provided by
litigation funder, LPF Group. Without their assistance the
growers wouldn’t have received any compensation and the
Government wouldn’t have been held to account for their
negligence,” said Mr
Cameron.

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