Northland kiwifruit growers won't bite the hand that helps feed them, but they say a relief package is too little, too late to help some coping with a "dog of a disease".
But even though the industry is not sure yet how the disease can be managed, representatives say there is a strong long-term future for the crop that is a major income earner for New Zealand.
On Wednesday the Ministry of Primary Industries declared the kiwifruit killer bacteria Psa-V a medium-scale national biosecurity threat and announced a recovery package to help growers and other industry workers affected by the disease.
Psa-V has infected several of Northland's 200-plus kiwifruit orchards, mostly in the Kerikeri area but with a couple in Whangarei.
The Psa-V package focuses on support such as access to counselling and help agencies.
It includes Rural Assistance Payments (RAPs) in cases of extreme hardship - $342 per week for an eligible childless couple, or $205 for a single person over 25 years old.
One Whangarei grower who asked not to be named told the Advocate the$50million Rural Assistance package - a $25million contribution each from the Government and the kiwifruit industry - was "welcome, but not enough in an industry worth $1.5billion a year".
Alan Worsfold, local New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated representative and Kiwifruit Vine Health regional co-ordinator, answered "no comment" when asked if he thought the package was too little.
The time lag between Psa-V turning up in several regions had complicated setting up the relief package, Mr Worsfold said. The disease had arrived in Northland despite two years of preventive measures, he added.
The Government's Primary Sector Recovery Policy was usually rolled out for weather events.
The sector had to move forward while managing Psa-V's existence, Mr Worsfold said.
"We've still got a vision for the future and longer term the prospect is very, very exciting but the big challenge, after helping individuals and communities cope with the immediate impact, is how to manage the production end of the industry."