The Kiwifruit Claim, which represents 212 kiwifruit growers and post-harvest operator Seeka, was established to hold the Crown to account for what they alleged was negligence in allowing the bacterial kiwifruit vine disease Psa-V (also known as Psa 3) into New Zealand in 2009.
In New Zealand, Psa was first officially reported on a kiwifruit orchard in Te Puke on 5 November 2010 at 4.30pm, though there were known instances of it well before this official date. Initially there was hope from the then Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) and growers that the bacteria could be contained within the Bay of Plenty region, however a domino effect saw the bacteria spread around the country, multiplying quickly with an ability to devastate a crop in less than a season. Given a downturn on other horticultural prices, the hit to kiwifruit was particularly strong for growers - because, for many, kiwifruit had become their mainstay. New Zealand now suffers from two to three distinct isolates of Psa - an Italian and an Asian strain.
Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae (Psa) is a bacteria that can result in the death of kiwifruit vines. Psa carries no risks associated with human or animal health and does not affect plants other than kiwifruit vines. Psa is believed to be spread by weather events, namely wind and rain, and plant material.