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21 June 2002
It is now a year since MAF introduced an instant fine regime at international
ports of entry to help enforce compliance with New Zealand's biosecurity laws.
Statistics to the 10th of June 2002 show there had been 9,406 instant fines
issued by MAF Quarantine Service for failure to declare risk goods at airports
across New Zealand.
Of these, 90.4% have been paid, generating an estimated $1,658,200 over the
12 month period that the infringement programme has been in place. A small
number - 41 fines amounting to $8,200 - went to court to be settled.
The statistics show a decrease in undeclared seizures, from 28% before the
infringement programme to 24% in the financial year since the implementation of
the programme. This corresponds with an increase in declared seizures, from 72%
of all seizures before infringements, to 76% after infringements started being
These changes are being attributed to the deterrent effect of the
infringement programme and to biosecurity awareness programmes such as Protect
New Zealand. The recently announced Protect New Zealand Week from 8 to 14 July
will further highlight the need for New Zealanders to take extreme care to
prevent introduction of new exotic pests and diseases.
In the 2000-2001 year MAF's Quarantine Service provided clearance for 22,441
aircraft and 3,424 vessels in accordance with biosecurity legislation and MAF
Auckland Airport, New Zealand's major hub, recorded about 6500 fines.
Christchurch followed with 1813 fines, Wellington came in third with 441 fines
and 102 fines were issued at Palmerston North. Other airports where fines were
issued at were Hamilton (56), Dunedin (46) and Queenstown (38). The airports
attract widely different numbers of inbound travellers. For the year through to
May 2002 Auckland attracted more than 2.4 million passengers and crew.
Christchurch had more than 530,000 arrivals, followed by Wellington with
234,000. Rounded figures for the other airports were: Hamilton - 57,000;
Palmerston North - 39,000; Dunedin - 31,000; and Queenstown - 8,000.
The infringement rate is calculated per 1000 passengers to take into account
a rate relative to the number of passengers entering New Zealand.
New Zealanders and Australians have the lowest infringement rates, at 1.7 and
0.99 fines per thousand passengers respectively.
Australians had the most positive figures. Although Australians constituted
20% of arrivals they only attracted 7% (672) of fines to the end of May. New
Zealanders, who represented almost 40% of inbound travellers, still managed to
attract more than 2100 fines (24% of the total).
Passengers of Asian (not SE Asia) and Middle eastern nationality have the
highest infringement rate at 7.5 fines per 1000 passengers, followed by
Europeans at 4.8 fines per 1000 passengers, and African nationals at 4.3 fines
per thousand passengers. North Americans and Japanese nationals have similar
infringement rates at around 3.6 fines per 1000 passengers entering New Zealand,
while passengers from South East Asia, Central and South America and the Pacific
Islands have infringement rates close to the average rate of 2.6 per 1000
In terms of actual volume and numbers Europeans (at 13% of inbound
travellers) attracted as many fines as the total issued to New Zealanders and
also represented 24% of those fined.
Fruitfly host material makes up 48% of the undeclared risk items and appeared
on more than 4200 infringement notices. Taken as a group, failure to formally
declare contaminated equipment (e.g. footwear and tents), meat products, stored
food products and bee products made up more than 30% of notices; that is
approximately 2700 fines.
Other categories of fine were for illegal non-declaration of fresh produce,
seeds, dairy products, animal products, wood products, egg products, fish
products and plant products. There have been 40 fines (0.5% of all fines) for
attempts to bring in nursery stock.
With one exception fines against age groups have corresponded to the
proportion of travellers in each age group e.g. 23.7% of travellers were in the
25-34 age group and that age group attracted 22.1% of fines.
The one exception was the 15-24 age group which at 13.7% of all inbound
travellers accounted for 17.3% of all fines. Figures for gender in that age
group show young males to be marginally worse offenders than young females,
although in all other age groups (except 65 and over) female passengers are
marginally more likely to be fined.