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Kiwifruit Claim documents highly critical of Government

A collection of kiwifruit businesses suing the Government for hundreds of millions of dollars have publicly posted legal documents explaining their claim.

Source: Breakfast

The Kiwifruit Claim class action was filed in late November last year, alleging Government agencies were negligent and responsible for the entry of vine-disease Psa into New Zealand. Nearly half of all kiwifruit crops were infected, at a claimed cost of nearly $1 billion.

The statement of claim released today alleges The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry was responsible by failing to "revisit relevant import requirements for kiwifruit", despite there being an outbreak of Psa in Italy at the time.

"Officers of MAF failed to take adequate action or to revisit pollen import requirements that would have prevented the outbreak of Psa-V in October 2010," the statement of claim reads.

All kiwifruit growers are invited to become plaintiffs in the class action. Nearly 30% of gold-kiwifruit growers and 9% of green-kiwifruit growers have registered their interest in the claim, media spokesperson Matthew Hooton says.

The combined losses of those who have already signed up is claimed to be around $250 million.

The case will be back before Wellington's High Court next month.