Justice Stephen Kos has found that delaying the import of raw pork for three months was necessary while new import health standards were reviewed.
The New Zealand Pork Industry Board has asked the court to review the way the new health standards were decided. The board fears the raw pork cuts that will be allowed in would spread porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome. New Zealand and Australia are two of the few countries free of PRRS.
The NZ Agriculture Ministry says that if the new rules were introduced, the chance of the disease spreading to NZ pigs would be extremely remote. Evidence for the pork board was that the disease could spread to live pigs within a year or two.
Justice Kos in the High Court at Wellington said he could not dismiss the views of scientists who said the risk was much greater than the ministry believed. He made orders to stop the new rules taking effect until late August, when the full challenge will be heard in court. But the court hearing could not resolve the scientific controversy, he said.
The new standard would allow importation of raw pig meat in sale-ready cuts of no more than three kilograms to lessen the chance of meat being trimmed and the raw offcuts fed to pigs, as it is thought this could spread the disease.