Kiwifruit postharvest operator Seeka Kiwifruit Industries is considering taking a class action on behalf of growers over the arrival of the vine killing disease Psa-V in New Zealand.
Seeka chief executive Michael Franks told the Zespri annual general meeting in Tauranga on Wednesday that a joint fund may be established to take a court case over shortcomings highlighted in the recent independent report into biosecurity and Psa’s arrival.
"If any growers are interested I suggest they talk to their post-harvest provider," says Michael.
After the meeting New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated President Neil Trebilco said the organisation has no plans to join the Seeka initiative.
"We have engaged a Queen’s Counsel to give a legal opinion on the report. We were aware of Seeka’s intentions and while I can’t rule out joining with Seeka (in an action) it’s not likely at this stage."
NZKGI chief executive Mike Chapman says there is a significant difference between seeking a legal opinion and planning to take a court case.
Neil says at the time the report was released earlier this month NZKGI was concerned enough about these failings that; "on behalf of growers we seek legal advice to assess the review and related information, to ascertain if we should take any further action.
"Many growers have lost all, or part, of their livelihoods as a result of Psa coming into New Zealand. As the grower representative organisation, it is NZKGI’s job to consider all possible options for growers impacted by Psa."
Neil says NZKGI will now consider the review in more depth and wait for subsequent legal advice before taking the next steps.
From: Fresh Plaza