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Case study - Councils work together to help fight Psa outbreak

In late 2010, Councils in the Bay of Plenty joined forces to provide urgent assistance to MAF Biosecurity NZ (now part of the Ministry of Primary Industries, or MPI) and ZESPRI International, in response to the outbreak of the kiwifruit bacterial disease, Psa (Pseudomonas syringae pv actinidiae).

Effects of kiwifruit vine disease, Psa2.jpgThe Psa outbreak was completely unexpected and required speedy and professional work from all organisations. Bay of Plenty Regional, Tauranga City and Western Bay of Plenty District Councils helped distribute messages to the community and provided operational support to MAF. This included collecting plant samples from orchards, identifying and managing sites for collection and incineration of infected vines and managing the environmental impacts of these operations.

Despite the intensive efforts of these organisations and the kiwifruit industry, Psa became well established and destroyed many of the kiwifruit cultivars grown in the Bay of Plenty.

Longer-term management of Psa is now done by Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH), which is governed by a board of directors who represent kiwifruit industry groups, post-harvest operators and the MPI. The Regional Council provides advice or assistance to KVH on an as-required basis. For example, the Regional Council monitors the impact of the limited approval spray treatment, streptomycin (KeyStrepto), on air quality.