Kiwifruit claim

Information on the High Court litigation.

Background

Strathboss Kiwifruit Ltd (on behalf of approximately 200 kiwifruit growers) and Seeka Ltd (a post-harvest operator) filed a claim against the Crown for what they alleged was negligence in allowing the bacterial kiwifruit vine disease Psa-V (also known as Psa 3) into the country. The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) does not accept the allegations.

The claim was heard in the High Court over 3 months, from August 2017 to October 2017. The High Court’s decision was released on 27 June 2018.

In summary, the High Court found:

  • A legal duty of care was owed by MAF personnel to Strathboss and those claimant growers with property rights in vines that were infected with Psa-V or treated as though they were infected. No duty of care was owed to post-harvest operators.
  • That duty of care was breached at the pre-import stage but not at the clearance at the border.
  • The Crown was not protected by statutory immunities and could be vicariously liable for negligent acts by employees.

Appeal

The Crown has appealed the High Court’s decision to the Court of Appeal. Strathboss and Seeka have cross-appealed.

The hearing in the Court of Appeal will take place on these dates:

  • 11 March to 14 March 2019
  • 18 March to 21 March 2019

Find out more

Who to contact

If you have questions about this legal action, email info@mpi.govt.nz

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