NZ may never be free of kiwifruit disease: Minister

NZ may never be free of kiwifruit disease: MinisterIt is highly unlikely the kiwifruit disease PSA can be eradicated from New Zealand, the Agriculture and Biosecurity Minister David Carter says.

Apart from three orchards in quarantine, three orchards are now confirmed with the bacterial vine infection.

According to Carter, symptoms of the disease are being reported by more than 100 orchards around the country.

He added that despite Te Puke being the only region to be infected at this stage, eradicating it looks increasingly difficult.

Carter says until the test results of more than 70 orchards are known, industry leaders have asked him to hold off in deciding what course of action to take.

A group of Maori growers who were worried about what PSA may do to their crops were spoken to by Carter about the growing disease.

For stopping the disease from spreading, growers will have to keep their family members away from orchards and they'll have to use hygienic practices on their orchards.

A Zespri executive said, "International markets have voiced no concerns about New Zealand's kiwifruit supply, despite the outbreak of the vine-killing disease, PSA."

About 100 properties have reported suffering from the disease.