Border agencies welcome "behind the scenes" focus of new TV series

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 Cream TV.

"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

MAF Quarantine Service - Stephen Olsen, Communications Adviser

(04) 470 2753 or (025) 977 028

See also

Background Information

About the MAF Quarantine Service

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 courier mail.

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 bee products.

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.

About the New Zealand Customs Service

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:

  • More than 6.9 million air passengers arrived in or departed from New Zealand
  • Over one million import declarations were made
  • More than 6,500 ships and other marine craft arrived or departed
  • Over 50 million items of mail entered the country.

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.



Last Updated: 07 October 2010

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