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MANGAWHAI'S NO.1 NEWSPAPER

Harder line on biosecurity fines

 

 

Planning on an overseas trip this summer? Be warned that customs authorities have decided to get tough on biosecurity rules.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is taking a harder line on arriving air passengers who fail to declare items that could bring pests or diseases into New Zealand.

So far this year, MPI officers have issued more than 9100 biosecurity infringements and given 1135 warnings to air passengers for failing to follow New Zealand’s strict biosecurity rules.

Last year, officers issued 9704 fines in total, compared with 6102 in 2015 and 4851 in 2014.

“The stats show biosecurity fines increased by more than 50 percent between 2014 and 2016. With the busy summer period yet to start, we are expecting to see another increase this year,” says Craig Hughes, MPI Passenger Manager.

“The rise is partly due to the increased numbers of visitors, but also to the tough stance we’re taking on people that put New Zealand at risk. We’re now more likely to issue a fine than give a warning.

Mr Hughes says travellers should be aware that failing to declare because you forgot, were tired from travelling, or did not know the rules is not enough to avoid a fine.

“The $400 fines are a stern reminder to air passengers who unintentionally fail to declare biosecurity risk goods such as fresh fruit. Where there is deliberate intent involved, passengers can face prosecution or be refused entry into New Zealand.

Border security has a simple message for international travellers – declare or dispose of anything that could have biosecurity risk before entering New Zealand.

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