The Ministry for Primary Industries has unveiled a new biosecurity tool for keeping destructive pests and diseases out of New Zealand – a mobile x-ray for scanning hand baggage carried by cruise ship passengers.
The new machine has so far been trialled in Auckland and the Bay of Islands. During the summer it will greet targeted cruise ships when they land at Waitangi, Napier, Gisborne and Auckland.
The new machine is part of a wider MPI commitment to strengthen New Zealand’s biosecurity system for arriving passengers this summer, says MPI Detection Technology Manager Brett Hickman.
“The machine will be largely focused on detecting apples, bananas, and other potential fruit fly host materials that passengers can carry in their hand baggage."
“With fruit fly populations on the rise in Australia, there is a heightened risk of the dangerous pest entering New Zealand this summer.”
The machine will be used in conjunction with biosecurity detector dog teams and questioning of passengers by quarantine officers.
“Our detection tools are designed to work together to block pests and diseases that could damage our primary industries and natural environment."
MPI currently owns and operates 30 x-ray units for baggage scanning at international airports, ports, the Auckland International Mail Centre and military bases.