An independent report into the devastating kiwifruit vine disease Psa has indentified "shortcomings" in New Zealand's biosecurity system.
The disease has swept through Bay of Plenty kiwifruit orchards, wiping out many gold vines and causing an estimated $400 million of losses.
The review, carried out by an Australian consultant, does not determine how Psa got into the country but recommends how the Ministry for Primary Industries (former the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry) can manage New Zealand's borders better.
MPI Director-General Wayne McNee says the ministry will implement all six recommendations from the review and will report to the Minister for Primary Industries, David Carter, in three months on progress.
The New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers organisation said it was concerned enough about the failings identified by the review that it would seek legal advice to assess whether any further action should be taken.
"Many growers have lost all, or part, of their livelihoods as a result of Psa coming into New Zealand. As the grower representative organisation, it is NZKGI's job to consider all possible options for growers impacted by Psa," president Neil Trebilco said.
McNee said the review had found that although the biosecurity risks associated with the importing of goods could never be entirely mitigated, protections could be improved by MPI, industry and crown research institutes working more closely to understand emerging risks.
"This is an important finding and underscores the significance of work MPI is currently doing with primary industries to develop Government Industry Agreements (GIA). Under the GIA, the Government and primary industries will partner on biosecurity readiness and response."
He said although improvements had been identified, New Zealand had a world class biosecurity system.
"Biosecurity risks are always changing and we need to be constantly improving and adapting our system as well. Identifying improvements where incursions happen is part of the reason why our system is so strong," he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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