Myrtle rust response – media update 20 May 2017

Media contact: MPI media team
Telephone: 029 8940328

A further 3 locations in Taranaki have been confirmed positive with myrtle rust infection today.

2 are residential gardens (in Waitara near the original nursery and in Waitui) and the third is a Taranaki Regional Council-run plant depot which supplies plants to farmers for riparian planting.  

The riparian plant depot concerned has been closed and is under treatment. There are 4 other similar plant depots in Taranaki and movement of plants from these sites has been restricted while investigations continue.

This means farmers who were intending to collect trees this week will not be able to do so. The regional council is notifying affected parties.

This brings the total number of known affected properties to 8 – a nursery and adjoining property in Kerikeri, 2 plant nurseries in Waitara, 2 Taranaki residential gardens, a garden centre in New Plymouth and the regional council plant depot.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) expects to continue to find new locations of infection given the most likely scenario is that the fungal spores entered New Zealand from Australia during a major wind event.

All infected properties are Restricted Places, meaning there are restrictions on the movement of plants or other risk materials off the sites. Locations are being treated with fungicide, risk plants are being safely destroyed, and surveillance is underway in the areas surrounding the properties for signs of the disease.

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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