Charges dropped

The Herald on Sunday today reports that the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has withdrawn criminal charges against well-known kauri (Agathis australis) expert Graeme Platt. Read the story here. Good on Cherie Howie from the HoS for regularly following up this story, most other news outlets lost interest as the case wound on.

The MPI has been left with egg on its face after a dressing down by the judge in the latest Platt hearing. I understand that Clive and Nicki Higgie, owners of Paloma garden near Wanganui, have also had the charges against them dropped (here is a link to a story from the end of last year about the case against them). Suffering a dawn raid at the same time as Graeme Platt was Jack Hobbs, curator of Auckland Regional Botanic Gardens, but he wasn’t, in the end, charged.

Here is the original Herald on Sunday story from 2012, which gives an insight into the mix-up in tree names for a Pacific kauri – legally imported from Vanuatu – that seems to have triggered the whole MPI response.

Go here to read about the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (1996).


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