TE Kaha man Iwi Te Moana and his family are wanting their contracted orchard management company to cease operations on their land. Photo Sven Carlsson OB4641-01
  •  Landowner and orchardist at loggerheads over Psa

A DISAGREEMENT about kiwifruit disease Psa management has seen a Te Kaha landowner try to lock out his contracted orchard management company.

Landowner Iwi Te Mahue Te Moana has accused the management company Huakiwi Copenhagen Lot 4 Orchard of failing to properly deal with the Psa – an allegation company director Ray Sharp denies.

Both parties have spoken to police following an incident at the orchard on Tuesday morning.

Mr Te Moana said he had locked the gate to the family-owned orchard and put up a “no trespassing” sign as the family were upset by the level of Psa in the orchard.

“The contractors cut the lock and were making their way in when I tried to deflate one of their tyres,” he said.

Mr Te Moana said he was pushed away and “a bit of a scuffle” ensued.

Having been involved with kiwifruit since 2005, Mr Te Moana said he was actively involved with Psa management in the area during the Psa crisis.

He is now concerned about the potential spread of Psa from the family orchard to neighbouring orchards, including a new development next door.

“There are people and vehicles going in and out, no baths for washing.”

He said a court order that gave the orchard management company access to the orchard had “no value due to violations”.

“They know the Psa is in there, but they haven’t taken it out,” Mr Te Moana said.

“We want to cancel the contract as soon as possible and get the people out.”

Mr Te Moana said the landowners wanted the Psa problem isolated and mitigated.

Mr Ray Sharp said the allegations were upsetting.

“We’re trying to help people with work and income and that orchard will produce well,” he said.

The landowners were “not acting rationally”, he said.

Mr Sharp said the Psa in the orchard was managed within KVH protocols, which were a different set of methods from those employed during the Psa crisis.

“Psa is already in the orchards there, it’s not going away and it needs to be managed,” Mr Sharp said.

“That orchard is very healthy.”

Mr Sharp estimates that of 3000 vines in the orchard, about 10 vines are affected.

“By the end of this week, vines showing signs of infection will be gone,” he said.

“The orchard isn’t mismanaged, it’s managed to the same high standards as other orchards we’re involved with.”

Mr Sharp said his company had invested $1 million in the orchard and would not treat such an investment poorly.

During the scuffle, Mr Te Moana tried to cut a tyre air valve on one of the contractor vehicles.

“I pushed his hand away,” Mr Sharp said. The gate to the orchard was re-locked on yesterday.

sven.carlsson@opotikinews.co.nz

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