Vegetable growers in New Zealand are concerned about news that the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is due to consider relaxing import legislation surrounding Australian tomatoes next month.

Relaxing the import rules could also mean opening the door to fruit fly infestations, they argue.

Tony Ivicevich, head of Vegfed, said that Australian growers stopped monitoring crops for fruit fly over the winter and if the pest does arrive in New Zealand, the damage would be widespread and costly as crops for domestic and export use go through a disinfestation process.

MAF should adopt a "no risk" rather than a "managed risk" policy, he added.