So our kiwifruit industry is in peril. PSA may be here to stay, vines may start being burnt today, and a $1.36 billion industry is in trouble.
Last year National sacked 54 front-line biosecurity staff, and slashed the budgets by millions.
The PSA (Public Service Association) warned at the time that inevitably disease and pests would get through, and that we’d lose the skilled people to even replace those staff when needed.
In September 2009 Federated Farmers knew to be wary of the government wanting to spread pest eradication costs – they knew that when the weakened front line inevitably failed, they’d then have to pay.
The Hadda beetle arrived in January, and there were more warnings, as potato and tomato industries were threatened.
And last month, before this disease was discovered, Labour and Federated Farmers were calling for an independent review after a further 2 types of pest had got in during the year.
It’s all been so predictable, it’s all playing with the future of our farm/orchard dependent country, and it’s only going to get worse with all the visitors coming for the Rugby World Cup next year…