A traveller arriving from Fiji has been refused entry into New Zealand after attempting to smuggle in seeds and other fresh plant material.
Arriving at Auckland Airport on Friday afternoon, the Fijian passport-holder admitted planning to plant seeds at her daughter's house after Biosecurity New Zealand officers found material concealed in medicine containers.
The officers detected 4 different seed types and fresh chillies in the woman's baggage.
"It was a clear case of smuggling – a reckless act that could have brought dangerous pests or diseases into New Zealand," says Biosecurity NZ spokesperson Steve Gilbert.
"In cases like this, we have the choices of prosecution or referring the offender to Immigration New Zealand.
"Both agencies agreed the incident was sufficiently serious enough to refuse the passenger entry into New Zealand and for her to be returned to Fiji.
"We hope the word will spread among travellers that this type of risky behaviour is unacceptable to New Zealand."