Police call for smooth harvest

CHLOE WINTER
Last updated 07:25 21/02/2014
Warren Newbury
EMMA ALLEN/Fairfax NZ
ON TRACK: Senior Sergeant Warren Newbury, of the South Island Commercial Vehicle Investigation Unit, hoped no tickets would be handed out to truckies for this year's grape harvesting season in Marlborough.

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Senior Sergeant Warren Newbury doesn't want to have to hand out any tickets to non-complying truck drivers this harvest.

He was one of the speakers at a pre-harvest meeting at Riverlands Roadhouse yesterday.

Mr Newbury, of the police's South Island Commercial Vehicle Investigation Unit, told about 100 truck drivers, contractors and wine growers he hoped this year's harvest would run smoothly.

"We want to try and make this seamless. Make sure there are no spillages on the road and the trucks are compliant.

"If we can go through the season without handing out any tickets I would be happy."

In past years there had been a lot of spills, he said.

"The ratepayers have paid hundreds of thousands to clean up spills over the years.

"What we want is a safe grape harvest with no incidents."

Everyone from the truckies, to the contractors to the wine growers had a part to play, he said.

Truck drivers need to do a walk-around check of their trucks every day, Mr Newbury said.

Wine growers should also be checking their truck drivers' licences, he said.

Plant and Food Research scientist Vaughan Bell urged people to clean machinery and trucks when working between blocks, to prevent the spread of leafroll virus.

The virus damages vine leaves and makes fruit clusters small, poorly coloured and low in sugar.

Mr Bell compared the leafroll virus with the PSA virus that hit the kiwifruit industry last year.

"The virus has major economical implications for vineyards."

Asked if a spray with a garden hose would suffice, he said it would not.

People should steam clean or use high pressure hoses to clean machinery and trucks to prevent the spread of the virus, he said.

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- The Marlborough Express

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