Director-General of Agriculture Says Review of RCD Decision "Unwarranted"

19 August 1997

The Director-General of Agriculture, Bruce Ross, has decided that a full review of the decision not to allow the importation of rabbit calicivirus disease (RCD) into New Zealand as a rabbit control tool is unwarranted.

The original decision declining the Application was announced on 2 July by the delegated Decision-maker and Deputy Director-General of Agriculture, Dr Peter O'Hara. Professor Ross was subsequently asked by the Applicant Group to formally review Dr O'Hara's decision.

Professor Ross said that in considering the request to review the decision, he was mindful that the decision-making process was the most demanding and thorough ever undertaken by MAF - a fact which the Applicant Group has acknowledged. He therefore determined that it was necessary to undertake a full review of the decision only if he was convinced that the decision-making process was flawed or the decision-maker had acted improperly in any way.

"Having read the report of the Chief Veterinary Officer, the Decision and the final reports of the expert reviewers, having focused upon and having considered the scientific arguments, and having taken appropriate advice including from the Crown Law Office, I do not believe a full review of the decision is warranted," Professor Ross said. "As far as I am concerned, the matter rests there."

In response to the issue of procedural errors raised by the Applicant Group, Professor Ross said, "In my view, the process was lengthy, even-handed and transparent, and I am satisfied that this enabled the outcome of a credible decision."

"I have considered the large number of claims made by the Applicant Group concerning the decision-making process and the decision. After taking appropriate advice, I have reached the conclusion that Dr O'Hara was entitled to reach the decision he did and that the decision is not invalidated by any of the matters raised by the Applicant Group."

The Applicant Group raised a number of matters on which they disagree with Dr O'Hara's interpretation of scientific data and information. "I have considered these carefully and have concluded that the disagreements are just that. I can find no evidence to suggest to me that Dr O'Hara's decision was reached as the result of a wrongful analysis or interpretation of the scientific information. His conclusions are consistent with those of the expert reviewers," Professor Ross concluded.

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Last Updated: 09 September 2010

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