Quarantine Declaration under investigation

New Zealand Government Media Statement

1 March 2001

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is investigating prosecuting Jenny Wood, the woman used by National MP Eric Roy to scare-monger about foot and mouth disease yesterday, Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Roy said Jenny Wood "who had been on a farm in Aberdeenshire, an area since confirmed infected with foot and mouth disease, was allowed to enter New Zealand on Monday without having her footwear checked".

She complained she wasn't questioned about whether she had been on a farm.

However, this is untrue.

All people entering New Zealand are required to fill in a quarantine declaration card, which specifically asks whether you have been on a farm in the past 30 days and whether you have any farm equipment or clothing used on a farm with you.

Jenny Wood's quarantine card has been located by MAF and she declared on it that she had not (NOT) been on a farm, and that she had no equipment or clothing which had been used on a farm with her, Mr Sutton said. Failure to make a correct quarantine declaration may result in a fine of up to $100,000 or imprisonment of up to 5 years.

"This sort of dishonesty is more than simply irresponsible; it is criminal when there is so much at stake. The livelihoods of all New Zealanders are dependent on a strong and healthy agricultural sector."

Mr Sutton said it was vital that all New Zealanders took border security seriously, particularly when there were such devastating outbreaks of disease overseas.

"The information travellers receive about biosecurity, before, during, and after their flights, as well as the questions on the card, are all there for a reason. All New Zealanders must work together to ensure our country is kept safe from dangerous disease and pests."

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