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MPI raises nearly $1m in biosecurity fines

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 14/04/2016

Almost $1 million worth of fines have been handed out to passengers arriving in New Zealand over the summer who have failed to declare risk goods.

The Ministry for Primary Industries issued 2288 infringement notices, which include a $400 fine, to international arrivals during the New Zealand summer period.

It's an increase of 41 per cent from last year.

MPI border clearance services director Steve Gilbert says a stricter approach to biosecurity is behind the significant uptick of infringement notices.

"The new measures have made it harder for air and cruise passengers to accidentally or deliberately carry risk goods into New Zealand," he said.

Just a fraction of guests had risk goods in their luggage, less than one per cent.

Officials were also on the lookout for fruit flies with 14 pieces of organic material found containing the pest.

"Stopping fruit fly from entering New Zealand is a big focus for us."

"So it is good to know that we have prevented at least 14 incursions of this destructive pest this summer."

MPI introduced 24 new detector dog teams, including harrier hounds, as well as 90 frontline officers last year.

Border levies were introduced on January 1 to help cover the bill for increasing border security costs.

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