Prosecution for illegal plant movements

19 August 2021

A Whangarei kiwifruit grower has been fined $17.5k after pleading guilty to charges relating to breaking biosecurity rules designed to protect the kiwifruit industry from harmful diseases.

The charges relate to breaches under the Biosecurity Act, including the illegal movement of plant material, where the grower knowingly moved material from Katikati, a Recovery region, into the Whangarei region, at the time a Containment region, without authorisation or testing to ensure the material was free from Psa.

These proceedings are the result of an investigation and prosecution by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) that included information provided by KVH regarding concerns about kiwifruit plant material being moved between growing regions to which strict movement restrictions apply.

KVH’s role is to work with the kiwifruit industry, to ensure best biosecurity practice and protect our industry investments and livelihoods. We do this through providing support and education, however we support MPI in their investigation and prosecution.

Strong action must be taken in situations like this to ensure our collective efforts are not put at risk by the actions of a few, and to protect the integrity of New Zealand’s biosecurity. Growers can have faith that everything possible is being done to keep unwanted pests and diseases out as well as manage current threats like Psa.

Kiwifruit growers are good orchardists who do the right thing and understand that it is important we all play a role, and are held accountable, in safeguarding New Zealand’s biosecurity.