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Friday 3 May 2002
New Zealand's key border agencies - New Zealand Customs Service and the
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) Quarantine Service - are 100% behind
the Border Patrol television series, the first episode of which screens
on TV One on Sunday 5 May at 7pm.
Border Patrol is a 10-part half-hour reality television series following
the men and women of the Customs Service and MAF as they protect our country
from harm. The series has been made for TVNZ by independent production company
"We welcome the opportunity to open the doors and let New Zealanders see
something of how we work," says the Comptroller of Customs, Robin Dare.
"This series is bound to increase public knowledge of the behind the
scenes work that goes into protecting New Zealand's borders - and not just at
airports. Raised awareness can only be good for maintaining border security and
will help to put a human face to the difficult job Customs and Quarantine
officers perform every day, week and month of the year," says Mr Dare.
MAF Director-General Murray Sherwin says the series will display the
dedication of these "frontline staff".
"The importance of keeping our borders secure, be that from illegal
drugs smuggling in the case of Customs or from biosecurity risks in the case of
MAF Quarantine Service, deserves to be recognised.
"We all look forward to watching the everyday stories that will unfold
each week through Border Patrol and to the interest this will generate in
the invaluable work performed by New Zealand's border agencies.
For further information contact:
New Zealand Customs - Janice Rodenburg, Communications Manager
(04) 462 0317 or (029) 462 0317. Visit Customs website at www.customs.govt.nz
MAF Quarantine Service - Stephen Olsen, Communications Adviser
(04) 470 2753 or (025) 977 028
See also www.protectnz.org.nz
MAF Quarantine Service operate strict biosecurity procedures to prevent the
introduction of pests and diseases of animals and plants.
MAF Quarantine Service inspects or x-rays all incoming passenger baggage and
mail making New Zealand the only country with this level of quarantine at the
border. Biosecurity detector dogs work at New Zealand airports, seaports and
International Mail Centres. They, with their dog handlers, also check cargo and
In the 2000-2001 year MAF's Quarantine Service provided clearance for more
than 22,000 aircraft and 3,424 vessels in accordance with biosecurity
legislation and MAF standards.
The simple message for the travelling public is "Declare It". In
the first six months of the introduction of $200 instant fines for undeclared
goods 4,975 fines were issued. The biggest category of fines is for undeclared
fruit and vegetables, followed by stored food products such as dried fruit and
nuts, contaminated equipment such as clothing and footwear, meat products and
MAF Quarantine Service has over 500 staff in 24 locations around the country,
covering the main air and sea ports. Clearances of imported goods (such as
commercial cargo / personal effects) is also carried out at approved
transitional facilities throughout New Zealand. Quarantine Officers also conduct
inspections in Japan, Australia and the USA to facilitate biosecurity clearance
of goods imported from those countries.
The New Zealand Customs Service's job is to protect the community from
potential risks arising from international trade and travel while facilitating
the legitimate movement of people and goods across the border.
Customs data for the 12 months to June 2001 shows that:
In the last reported financial year Customs collected more than $6.8 billion
in Government revenue from duties, excise taxes and GST. Customs has over 800
staff in 17 locations around the country, covering the main air and sea ports.
Customs also has officers in Brussels, Bangkok and Sydney.
Customs works closely with the other border agencies, the Ministry of
Agriculture and Forestry Quarantine Service and the Immigration Service.