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Wednesday 29 January 2003
MAF Quarantine Service officers continue to collect a monthly average of
almost 10,000 biosecurity risk items such as meat and egg products from inbound
airline travellers, according to MAF Biosecurity statistics for 2002.
Analysis by MAF Biosecurity's Border Management Group pointed to a slight
decrease in the rate of total interceptions and seizures from 32 per thousand
passengers in 2001 down to 31 per thousand passengers last year.
"With almost 3.7 million passengers to clear last year there were almost
as many people arriving in New Zealand as the total population," said MAF
Quarantine Service general manager Fergus Small. "Our message to every
single person is the same - prevent the introduction of pests and diseases of
animals and plants by making a full declaration. This applies as equally to the
hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders returning from overseas travel, as it
does to the international tourists we attract each year.
"The fact that one in ten travellers are doing the right thing by
declaring risk goods is a good measure for us of changing trends. Another
helpful measure is the figures we receive on the instant fines introduced from
June 2001 for non-compliance with New Zealand's strict biosecurity procedures.
On average we are issuing more than 800 fines a month, with an obvious peak
occurring during the recent holiday period," said Mr Small.
Figures for the six months July-December 2002 show a total of 4965 $200 fines
were issued at New Zealand airports, with 1034 fines issued in December alone.
Half of all fines were for passengers who failed to correctly declare fresh
produce considered to be fruit fly host material. The next largest category of
enforceable infringement was for contaminated equipment (10 percent) followed by
bee-related and meat products (8 and 7 percent respectively).
Although there was a slight increase of 0.5 percent in the number of
passengers found with undeclared risk items in 2002, data for the July to
December period indicated that infringements were levelling off - with the
number of fines per thousand passengers dropping from 2.7 to 2.45.
"The numbers we are dealing with are huge so having this information
gives us a source of encouragement and a way to both pick trends and target
resources through initiatives such as the Protect New Zealand biosecurity
awareness programme," said Mr Small.
Fines by airport for July-December 2002: