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Tauranga News: Friday 12 November 2010

Concerns for Kiwifruit Industry

Zespri has reassured growers it's not the end of the kiwifruit industry despite struggles to contain the disease PSA. Hundreds of concerned growers gathered in Te Puke yesterday for answers on how to stop the spread. Chief Executive Lain Jager says they still need information whether eradication is a viable option. He says they've been notified orchards outside the Bay of Plenty have presented symptoms of the vine-killing disease. But Mr Jager is adamant growers need to keep an open mind - the industry will fight through. Meanwhile Kiwifruit Growers are confident the industry is strong enough to combat vine-killer Psa. Several have thanked the Goverment, and Zespri for being up front at industry meetings over the last two days.

Quality Croplink's Scott Flat - who manages kiwifruit orchards says they've been through lots of tough challenges as an industry and hopes growers aren't too anxious at this time. He says the industry is resilient and will rise above. 70 orchards will be tested for Psa by the end of the weekend. At least 40 MAF staff are collecting large samples from those orchards presenting symptons. It says the two worst affected orchards now have wilted leaves - not just spotting. Bay of Plenty Regional council is stressing to the public to stay well away from kiwifruit orchards to reduce the spread. It's stopped all consent workers and other council staff who regularly visit the orchards from doing so unless it's absolutely necessary.

Chief Executive Bill Bayfield says it's to avoid staff becoming potential carriers of disease Psa. Meanwhile industry meetings for growers are to continue. Minister David Carter is to return to Te Puke this afternoon, to re-evaluate the situation. And at least 70 orchards will be tested for disease Psa by the end of the weekend. Growers are encouraged to check The Canopy - an industry website that'll provide several updates for growers as to where the affected orchards are.

Student Pilot Survives

A lucky escape for a student pilot in Tauranga. The pilot was forced to make an emergency landing on Matakana Island due to engine failure yesterday. But after misjudging the distance of the landing area, the plane bounced over a paddock before coming to an abrupt stop. Despite reports of significant damage to the plane, the pilot is said to be okay.

Free rides prove popular

Bus passenger numbers doubled on the first "no-fare" Saturday in Tauranga last weekend. The Bay of Plenty Regional Council says around 5000 people used the service, which is aimed to draw people back to the CBD. It'll run until the end of the month.

Sewer Overflow

A small sewer overflow has reached the frontage of Memorial Park on 11th Avenue. It was caused by fat build up that blocked the pipe. The Tauranga City Council says the impact to the estuary is LOW. 

Posted: Fri 12 Nov 2010

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