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Police raid targets peas

By Geoff Vause
[email protected]

A Whareama farmer was surprised by agriculture officials and police entering his home and seizing a computer hard drive last Friday.

Simon Perry said the police, from Masterton, had a search warrant when they accompanied MPI officials to his home in relation to a peas growing on his land which sprouted from leftover seed from the previous year.

Late in July the Ministry of Primary Industries imposed a two-year, region-wide ban on pea crops after pea weevil were found on eight different Wairarapa properties and three seed storage facilities in the region.

There are about 1400ha of pea crops and 100 growers in the region.

The pest had come as a result of MPI border control failure, and they were now tidying up their own mistake.

The two-year ban included snow and sugar snap varieties and covered the entire Wairarapa to Pahiatua, costing commercial pea growers up to $250,000 each a year. Home growers were also subject to the ban.

Mr Perry said the way he had been visited by police and MPI officials had left “a festering wound”.

He said he was working with food quality experts to find a solution without ploughing up the entire 26 hectares affected.

“We need to get a plan in place to get rid of the pea plants without compromising our livestock,” Mr Perry said.

“I don’t want to say too much right now. I can’t afford to get their [MPI’s] backs up.”

He said he had planted plantain and clover for his stock, and the peas had sprouted themselves.

Masterton police confirmed they had accompanied MPI officials on the raid on Mr Perry’s farm, but said they were there as support only.

MPI’s Sian Howard said “the investigation is ongoing and as such we can’t make any further comment,”

She said the investigation should be resolved by the end of the week.

Breaching the ban is punishable by up to five years’ jail and a fine not exceeding $100,000, or both.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Wow! Nice to see that the Stazzi have the power to lock up dangerous criminals like this for up to five years (plus the fine of a hundred grand of course). They do the same fine job of issuing fines for similar serios breaches of our road rules, like 62kmh in a 50kmh zone and the like. Godzone or East Germany during the Soviet era? Who knows, maybe we all would feel safer if Mr Perry was sent to a labour camp.

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