Tomato smuggler refused entry

Media contact: MPI media team
Telephone: 029 894 0328

A Korean traveller has been refused entry to New Zealand after trying to hide some tomato seeds from Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) biosecurity officers.

The woman arrived at Auckland Airport yesterday with her husband. The seeds were found in tissue paper hidden between the flaps of a box during a baggage search.

She has been forced to return to Korea on the next available flight after MPI staff referred the matter to Immigration New Zealand.

She admitted plans to plant the seeds in her daughter’s garden in Auckland, says Craig Hughes, MPI Manager North Passenger.

"The offence involved a deliberate attempt to smuggle goods that could have contained diseases or pests devastating to New Zealand tomato growers."

The decision is another reminder that MPI and Immigration New Zealand take a tough stance with travellers whose actions threaten our primary industries and natural environment.

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