Pork challenge dismissed

GERALD PIDDOCK
Last updated 19:16 20/12/2013

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The Supreme Court has dismissed the Pork Industry Board's appeal which challenged the Ministry for Primary Industries' decision to issue import health standards for pork.

The standards permitted the importation of raw pork into New Zealand.

The import health standards were issued in response to the presence in certain countries, including Canada and the United States, of the viral disease porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS).

The board opposed the standards because they allowed PRRS-affected countries to import raw pig meat into New Zealand.

The board alleged that the MPI director-general had acted unlawfully and challenged the consultation process under the Biosecurity Act 1993.

That challenge was unsuccessful in the High Court and in the Court of Appeal.

The Supreme Court in a majority decision found that the MPI director-general had acted lawfully and had met the consultation obligations contained within section 22 of the act.

In a dissenting view, Chief Justice Sian Elias said the requirements of section 22 were not met because the chief technical officer had failed to consult before recommending the issue of the import standards, as required under the act. Therefore, the import health standards were invalid.

The board was ordered to pay costs of $25,000 to the MPI director-general and Biosecurity New Zealand's chief technical officer.

The board would not comment on the decision.


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