Myrtle rust response - media update 18 May 2017

Media contact: MPI media team
Telephone: 029 894 0328

Work is underway in Taranaki to contain the spread of myrtle rust from a nursery in Waitara where it was confirmed yesterday.

As with the nursery in Kerikeri where myrtle rust was first found in New Zealand, movement controls are in place restricting the movement of plants or other risk materials off the site. Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is preparing to treat the location with fungicide and has started the job of inspecting the area out to 500 metres from the infection site.

MPI thanks the Taranaki nursery owner for being vigilant and reporting the suspect symptoms to the 0800 number.

MPI is partnering with Department of Conservation (DOC), local iwi, the regional council and the plant production industries in the field activities.

In Kerikeri, the site of the first detection, field crew have completed a second round of surveillance 500 metres out from the affected nursery. No further detections have been made. All species that could be affected with myrtle rust have been safely removed from the nursery and destroyed.

There are 2 main reasons why the rust is being found in plant nurseries. Growing conditions there are ideal for the fungus with many vulnerable young plants in sheltered, warm and damp environments. In addition, there has been a large amount of communication with the nursery industry and growers have been particularly vigilant in checking their plants.

MPI continues to encourage members of the public to report any suspected signs of myrtle rust to MPI's Exotic Pest and Disease Hotline on 0800 80 99 66. Do not touch the rust or the plant. Note the location and take photos of the symptoms and the plant.

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