MPI taken to court by apple and stonefruit growers

A group of apple and stonefruit growers is taking legal action against the Ministry for Primary Industries in response to an order to destroy tens of thousands of plants with claimed potential future losses of up to $1.5 billion.

The group says “flawed” decision-making by MPI over a paperwork issue may kill innovation in the sector and set it back by up to 15 years.

The group has requested an urgent judicial review of the MPI directive by the High Court at Wellington.

Group spokesman Kerry Sixtus of Pattullo’s Nurseries in Napier said five parties, including his business, were challenging an MPI order last week for nurseries and orchards to contain or destroy 48,000 apple and stonefruit plants derived from plant material imported from a quarantine centre at Washington State University.

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