Myrtle rust response – Media update 22 May 2017

Date:

Media contact: MPI media team

Telephone: 029 8940328

Email: media@mpi.govt.nz

Four further Taranaki properties have tested positive for myrtle rust, bringing the number of positive locations nationally to 12.

At this time, the disease has only been recorded in 2 regions – Northland and Taranaki. 8 of the affected properties are plant nurseries or retailers/distributors, and it has been detected in four private gardens.

This response is rapidly changing as large numbers of members of the public report through suspected finds. To date, Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has received some 380 reports of suspected symptoms through its 0800 number and the number of affected properties is expected to grow.

MPI thanks people for their vigilance in this situation. Their reports are helping to build a picture of where the rust is present and inform plans being made for the future management of the fungus.

All infected and suspect properties are made Restricted Places, meaning there are controls on the movement of plants or other risk materials off the sites. Infected locations are being treated with fungicide, affected and at-risk plants are being safely destroyed, and surveillance is underway in the areas surrounding the properties for signs of the disease.

MPI continues to encourage members of the public to report any suspected signs of myrtle rust to MPI's Exotic Pest and Disease Hotline on 0800 80 99 66. Do not touch the rust or the plant. Note the location and take photos of the symptoms and the plant.

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