Myrtle Rust - An urgent message from the NZPPI Board

20 May 2017

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Myrtle rust infection was confirmed at two further properties in Taranaki on Friday following businesses reporting suspicious symptoms. This brings the total number of infected properties to five. Three of these are plant producers (one in Kerikeri, two in Taranaki) and one an industry partner (a retailer in Taranaki).

There is a total ban on the movement of plants or plant material and associated matter on or off all infected properties, and these are being treated with fungicide, and risk plants safely destroyed.

Owners will be fully compensated for any losses incurred by this process.

MPI will also be issuing legal notices to nurseries and garden centres close to, or who have received plants from, an infected nursery mandating biosecurity measures as they continue to trade. This parallels measures enacted in Kerikeri last week.

This situation is still developing. Given experts believe this is most likely a wind-borne event there may well be further finds in coming days or weeks, in these two regions and potentially wider.

Two important messages from the NZPPI board

The first is to thank the many plant producers who are actively looking for and reporting possible symptoms of myrtle rust.

Reports have been flowing into to MPI from many of you. This is absolutely the right thing to do. Ministers, MPI and other industries have been publically praising those making such reports, and recognising the professional and responsible approach our industry is taking. Our industry and local communities are getting in behind those affected. No plant producer will be worse off as a result of doing the right thing. NZPPI is working closely with MPI to make double sure of this, including to ensure financial compensation is fair and timely, and that the welfare of those involved is looked after.

The second is it’s imperative every part of our industry is vigilant, and is actively implementing the protocols NZPPI has put in place (agreed with MPI).

That includes every person and business, whether you’re in Kerikeri, Taranaki, or any other part of NZ. And whether you’re a seed collector, plant producer, plant transporter or retailer. There’s absolutely no room for complacency and we implore you to be vigilant and act now if you haven’t already. Your business and our industry reputation and ability to trade depend on it.

You can access NZPPI’s protocols here.

NZPPI is aware there is a view amongst some that movement standstills, and more, should be put in place to stop further spread of myrtle rust. NZPPI has successfully argued, to date, that such measures are not technically justified. This has been underpinned by the proactive stance our industry has taken from the get go – in terms of protocols we put in place very early on as an industry and the impressive level of reporting MPI has witnessed, which increases confidence.

The protocols firmly place our industry and its members as part of the solution - rather than part of the problem. They strengthen industry’s reputation, build industry and business resilience, and lessen the likelihood of future such restrictions on plant movements and our ability to trade. They also provide a supply chain approach to biosecurity that minimises risk to your business.

Our thanks to the IPPS

The IPPS have cancelled the field trips that were part of this weekend’s conference in Pukekohe due to the gravity of the situation.

We appreciate that this would have been a tough call to make, but it's the right thing to do and we applaud the IPPS for recognising the importance of us all doing as much as we can to stop any further spread.

Meetings with Taranaki plant producers and industry partners

NZPPI’s Chair, Andrew Harrison (who is part of the response leadership team) and Malcom Woolmore (NZPPI’s representative on the technical advisory group), visited Taranaki yesterday. They discussed the latest situation with MPI leaders and members of the field team on the ground, visited impacted businesses and hosted a meeting of industry members.

About to head home - Roger Smith (Chief Operations Officer, MPI), Andrew, Malcolm and
Geoff Gwyn (Director, Intelligence, Planning and Coordination, MPI)

Geoff Gwyn who heads up the response for MPI also attended, to thank the industry and those sending in reports, explain what was happening on the ground and share thoughts on what lies ahead.

Our sincere thanks to all those who made the time to attend, with feedback this was a valuable session.

NZPPI's here to help

NZPPI, on behalf of all members, is working closely with MPI and we will do all we can to help you manage this serious threat. Please contact John Liddle at or phone 021 370 168 if you have any questions or need any advice.

We’ll update our Myrtle Rust webpage and let people know as things come to hand.


If you think you have seen this fungus call MPI’s Exotic Pests and Diseases hotline - 0800 80 99 66. Take a photo - do not attempt to touch or collect samples as this may increase the spread of this disease.


©2017 NZPPI
New Zealand Plant Producers Incorporated
PO Box 3443, Wellington 6140
Level 5, 23 Waring Taylor Street, Wellington
P: 04 918 3511 | F: 04 499 9589
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