Government settle kiwifruit negligence case
13 February 2021
Today, twelve years after PSA first devastated the kiwifruit industry, the Government has agreed to pay $40m in compensation to growers who are part of the Kiwifruit Claim.
I know that for many of you this settlement with the Government concludes a very lengthy and stressful fight to achieve accountability. While this agreement will provide some compensation for the losses you suffered, it importantly achieves what we set out to do, which was to hold the Government responsible for MPI’s negligence in causing the PSA outbreak (growers will receive the proceeds of the $40m settlement less claim costs and fees).
The choice to settle was a very tough decision, and I can assure you that we explored every option to ensure the best outcome was achieved for all the growers who are part of the claim.
Supreme Court grant leave to appeal
23 July 2020
I just wanted to provide you with a very quick update on the Kiwifruit Claim. The Supreme Court has granted leave for our appeal which means the Supreme Court will hear our arguments against the Court of Appeal decision. We have not yet been advised of a date for this hearing, when we have this information we will let you know.
Also, a reminder to continue retaining all documents relating to any costs or charges you have incurred as a result of PSA. This includes any test results if you have had vines showing symptoms of Psa-V disease. If you have any questions about the claim or what records you should be retaining, please let us know.
Notice of Appeal to the Supreme Court
8 May 2020
Today we have started the Supreme Court appeal process and have filed an application seeking an appeal to hold the Government to account for their negligence.
We believe we have a strong case for appealing the Court of Appeal decision which found that although MPI was negligent in allowing the high-risk shipment of PSA infected pollen anthers into New Zealand from China, the Government can’t be liable for their actions, because they are the Government.
This Court of Appeal ruling contravenes the right of every New Zealander under the Bill of Rights Act 1990 to hold the Government to account for negligence in the same way as if it were a private company or individual.
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Court of Appeal Decision
9 April 2020
Today we received the decision from the Court of Appeal in the Stage 1 trial to hold the Government and Ministry of Primary Industries to account for the losses suffered during the PSA-V incursion.
The Court of Appeal agreed that the Government was responsible for the PSA-V outbreak that devastated the industry however it is not liable for the losses. Regardless of this decision, we have always thought that the case would need to be determined by the Supreme Court and while our legal team are currently analysing this Judgement in its entirety, we have agreed to appeal this decision in the Supreme Court.
March 2020 Update to Kiwifruit Claim Claimants:
18 March 2020
It has now been over a year since the Court of Appeal hearing wrapped up in Wellington and we are still waiting for a decision to be released. Unfortunately it is in the Court’s hands as to when this judgement will be released, but once we have the decision, we will provide you with a copy together with a review of the decision.
I just want to remind you all to ensure that you retain all documents relating to any costs or charges you have incurred as a result of PSA. This includes any test results if you have had vines showing symptoms of Psa-V disease.
If you have any questions about the claim or what records you should be retaining, please let us know.
Reminder to keep documents & update on Court of Appeal decision:
4 November 2019
I wanted to take a moment to give you all a quick update on the Kiwifruit Claim. It has now been over eight months since the Court of Appeal hearing wrapped up in Wellington and we are still waiting for a decision to be released. We will provide you with a full review of the decision once we have it.
We are aware that some of you may have kiwifruit vines showing symptoms of Psa-V disease. It is important that you have your vines tested and keep copies of the test results if they come back positive for Psa-V disease. You also need to retain all documents relating to any other costs or charges you have incurred as a result of PSA.
If you have any questions about what you records you should be retaining, please let us know.
Update on Court of Appeal decision:
25 July 2019
As we near the end of July I wanted to give you all a quick update on the Kiwifruit Claim. It has been almost four months since the Court of Appeal hearing wrapped up in Wellington and we are waiting for a decision on the legal arguments presented to be released. We have not been advised of when we are likely to receive this judgement, but rest assured, we will update you once we have more information.
Depending on the decision, we will also endeavour to provide you with an overview of possible next steps and timeframes but it is likely, regardless of the decision, that an appeal will be made to the Supreme Court next year.
Court of Appeal hearing to start
6 March 2019
I wanted to take the opportunity to provide you all with a progress update on the Kiwifruit Claim.
On Monday, 11 March, the Court of Appeal hearing will start. It is expected to take 2 weeks.
The Crown will present its arguments in respect of their appeal against the 2018 High Court judgement and then our lawyers present our cross-appeal arguments.
The Crown’s appeal aims to dispute the strong factual evidence presented to Justice Mallon throughout the 13 weeks trial, which we believe resulted in an extensive and thoroughly reasoned judgement. The Crown are specifically asking the court to:
Revisit the facts that were presented in evidence by over 60 expert and non-expert witnesses, including how Psa entered New Zealand.
Address the statutory liability being placed on its’ employees for acts of negligence; and
Examine whether or not the Government owes a duty of care to the kiwifruit growers;
Our cross-appeal seeks to confirm that MPI was negligent when they failed to inspect the shipment of banned kiwifruit plant material at the border and challenge the decision that the Government does not owe a duty of care to Seeka, in their capacity as post-harvest operator.
The appeal will be heard in the Wellington Court of Appeal and is scheduled to run for 2 weeks. Members of the committee will be travelling to attend and you are all welcome to also attend this hearing, the court is located on the corner of Aitken street & Molesworth Street, Thorndon, Wellington. Sessions start at 10.00am each day.
We will update you following the conclusion of the appeal hearing
High Court Appeal filed
24 July 2018
Today the Crown, on behalf of MPI, filed a legal appeal against the High Court decision that found MPI was negligent in allowing PSA into New Zealand and they owed a duty of care to kiwifruit growers in its biosecurity functions.
I understand that many of you will have questions about the impact of this appeal and what the process might be from here. We are working closely with our legal team, Lee Salmon Long and litigation funders, LPF Group on what this appeal means for us and what the likely next steps are from here.
We will keep you informed of progress once we understand what is going to happen next.
High Court Judgement
6 July 2018
Following the release of the landmark decision last Friday and our Grower Newsletter, I have attached a copy of the Judgement to this email for those of you who wish to read it. It is a large decision – over 500 pages long!
I understand that many of you will have questions about this decision and what the next steps in the process might be. As we said last week, we are working closely with our legal team, Lee Salmon Long and litigation funders, LPF Group on what this decision means for us and what the likely process is from here.
The Crown has 20 working days in which they can lodge an appeal to this Judgement. We would hope that the Crown recognises the decision of Justice Mallon and moves to provide compensation to us as she has directed.
I am sure you will have seen some of the media coverage that followed the release of the Judgement last week. Here are a couple of links, if you haven’t already seen it:
We will keep you informed of progress once we have a clear picture of what is going to happen next.
Court memo filed
16 April 2018
Further to our recent newsletter - we have just been informed that, like us, the Crown has now filed a memo confirming that they have no issue with the Judge’s disclosures. We look forward to receiving the Judgement in the case at the end of May and will be advising you of this accordingly.
High Court case - day 1 update
7 August 2018
Today, the Kiwifruit Claim court case began in the Wellington High Court and after sitting through the first day, where our lawyers presented their opening submissions, we are very impressed with legal team and the overview of the evidence that will be presented over the next 12 weeks. They provided an excellent outline of the case from the process of describing PSA through to the legal obligations of MPI under the duty of care argument. We believe the presiding Judge has a good understanding of our case and we await key witnesses to support our evidence.
As you may have seen and heard, we have achieved an amazing amount of media coverage over the last few days providing an overview of the court case, our arguments and very importantly the grower perspective on the incursion – the links to some of the media coverage are below. We also had Mike Hosking from Newstalk ZB question Prime Minister Bill English on his views on the court case during their Monday morning briefing this morning.
Additionally, we can also be proud to say we assisted with the cancellation of the importation of mud into Rotorua.
If any of you have any questions please reach out to me, and I would like to reiterate if anyone receives a request from media to contact Bronwynne Howse on 0274 583 198 in the first instance.