$50 million government/industry plan to fight Psa

  • David Carter

The Government has announced it is committing $25 million, subject to a dollar-for-dollar match from the kiwifruit industry, to fund an urgent aggressive containment strategy to fight Psa disease.

Biosecurity Minister David Carter says that if the plan is supported by kiwifruit growers, $50 million will be immediately available to tackle the spread of Psa and minimise its impact on New Zealand's $1.5 billion dollar kiwifruit industry.

"This is the Government and industry taking a leadership role to ensure the future of one of New Zealand's brightest primary sector industries.

"Today's announcement is a major funding commitment by the Government and a decision not taken lightly.  It recognises the compelling case put forward by the kiwifruit industry to ensure its future viability," says Mr Carter.

The funding package will cover a range of actions, including limited grower compensation for income loss, management techniques and continued research into the disease.  MAF will be involved in the governance of the programme and the response will be subject to ongoing review by technical experts.

"The Government has been working closely with the kiwifruit industry on this issue since day one.  This is a very rapid response.  It is the best example of industry and government working together in a joint approach to tackle a serious biosecurity incursion," says Mr Carter.

 "Once the initial stages of response are complete and infection rates minimised, the industry will put a long-term pest management strategy in place, which will be funded by industry.

"We are looking at the way of the future for the management of biosecurity incursions," Mr Carter says.

Industry consultation on the proposal will take place over the next two days, and if supported by growers, the plan will be implemented immediately.