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27 December 2000
Instant fines are on the cards next year for passengers arriving in New Zealand with undeclared goods which threaten the nation's biosecurity. The Minister for Biosecurity Marian Hobbs says the government has approved the introduction of the $200 fines for anyone caught with undeclared fruit, plant or animal products that threaten New Zealand's environment and economy.
"In one month recently 2151 persons were detected with undeclared risk goods," Marian Hobbs said. "The large number of persons making an erroneous declaration at the border is well beyond the capacity of both the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the court system to prosecute in the ordinary way.
"The fines are designed to send a signal to all passengers that they must be vigilant at declaring risk goods when they enter New Zealand because any breach of our biosecurity can cost the country dearly."
Infringement notice systems are operated in a number of countries including Australia, the United States and Canada.
The new instant fines will come into force on July 1, next year after a public education campaign to help raise awareness of the new measures.