The Ministry for Primary Industries is taking a hard line on arriving air passengers who fail to declare items that could bring pests or diseases into New Zealand.
So far this year, MPI officers have issued more than 9,100 biosecurity infringements and given 1,135 warnings to air passengers for failing to follow New Zealand's strict biosecurity rules.
Last year, officers issued 9,704 fines in total, compared with 6,102 in 2015 and 4,851 in 2014.
"The stats show biosecurity fines increased by more than 50% between 2014 and 2016. With the busy summer period yet to start, we are expecting to see another increase this year," says Craig Hughes, MPI Passenger Manager.
"The rise is partly due to the increased numbers of visitors, but also to the tough stance we're taking on people that put New Zealand at risk. We're now more likely to issue a fine than give a warning.
"Travellers should be aware that failing to declare because you forgot, were tired from travelling, or did not know the rules is not enough to avoid a fine.
"The $400 fines are a stern reminder to air passengers who unintentionally fail to declare biosecurity risk goods such as fresh fruit. Where there is deliberate intent involved, passengers can face prosecution or be refused entry into New Zealand.
"The message is very simple for international travellers – declare or dispose of anything that could have biosecurity risk before you enter New Zealand."