Sunday, 24 December 2023 09:55

Biosecurity teams all set for busy summer

Written by  Staff Reporters
Biosecurity New Zealand says its frontline teams are ready for the anticipated influx of summer travellers with changes to arrivals processing at airports. Biosecurity New Zealand says its frontline teams are ready for the anticipated influx of summer travellers with changes to arrivals processing at airports.

Biosecurity New Zealand says its frontline teams are ready for the anticipated influx of summer travellers with changes to arrivals processing at airports and the introduction of new hosts to help people.

Biosecurity New Zealand northern regional commissioner Mike Inglis says the new hosts are joining biosecurity frontline teams for the first time this summer. The roles are designed to improve the overall traveller experience.

“Hosts will be a friendly face to greet travellers at the biosecurity control area,” Inglis says. “They will be an important part of the biosecurity team, ensuring travellers know how to navigate the biosecurity system and what to expect when they reach our officers.”

“Travellers are at the heart of everything we do, so we’re striving to deliver the best possible outcomes for them,” he adds.

The hosts will be easily identifiable, wearing “Biosecurity New Zealand host” t-shirts and follow a successful trial at Auckland Airport of new systems and processes for low-risk passengers during the September-October school holidays.

“We’ve fully introduced those changes and they’ve kept passengers moving smoothly through biosecurity checks,” Inglis says.

“Our officers use biosecurity information provided by passengers on their traveller declaration to assess people with nothing to declare and who are low risk,” he explains. “These passengers are then directed to a biosecurity express lane for processing, reducing the pressure on the border system during peak times.”

Biosecurity teams were further bolstered last month, with 23 new quarantine officers joining the Auckland team and four new detector dog handlers and their dogs deployed – two in Auckland, and one each at Wellington and Christchurch airports.

Another 19 officers graduated in December to boost biosecurity teams at other international airports, with seven in Wellington, eight in Christchurch and four in Queenstown. A new intake has begun their training and will graduate in March.

The focus for quarantine officers this summer is screening for exotic fruit flies and the brown marmorated stink bug, along with other pests and diseases that could have a devastating impact on the economy and the environment.

“We ask international travellers to be understanding of the need to protect New Zealand from biosecurity threats,” says Inglis.

“Travelling light is best, so if it’s a non-essential item, please don’t bring it to New Zealand. Please be patient as you get your bags checked or are required to answer questions from our officers, who are working especially hard over this period.”

Inglis says the biosecurity system is working well.

“In the three months from September, quarantine officers seized more than 30,000 risk items from passengers. Of these, over 20,000 items were destroyed and about 2,000 people fined. The finds included dried fruit in a milk container, a whole vine of peanuts and an assortment of seeds in the lining of a suitcase.”

Passengers can do several things to help them be checked efficiently by our biosecurity staff on arrival and help protect our more than $57 billion in annual primary sector exports, including:

  • Fill out your digital declaration correctly before arrival so our experienced staff can efficiently and accurately assess biosecurity risk.
  • Declare all risk items on your card – like food, plants, wooden products, soil, water, outdoor equipment, and animal products so we can assess and prevent any pests or diseases entering New Zealand.
  • Dispose of undeclared risk goods in marked amnesty bins on your arrival to avoid being searched or fined. This material is safely disposed of to remove biosecurity risk.
  • Families/groups should stay together to help with efficient processing.

More like this

Celebrating success

The Director General of MPI, Ray Smith says it's important for his department to celebrate the success of a whole range of groups and people around the country.

Biosecurity Update

In this biosecurity article, I touch on four subjects of recent interest: the new New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) Biosecurity Contractor Resources, a Brown Marmorated Stink Bug update, a Xylella Action Group update, and the Forest Biosecurity Conference.

International travellers thanked

Biosecurity New Zealand is thanking international travellers who arrived during the peak Christmas and New Year period for their efforts in helping to protect New Zealand’s $57 billion primary sector export industry.

Eyes open for biosecurity pests and diseases

Every year, the New Zealand Winegrowers biosecurity team is sent an increasing number of images from members of suspected grapevine pest insects and disease symptoms, evidence that a high level of biosecurity awareness is building amongst the industry.

Featured

TV series to combat food waste

Rural banker Rabobank is partnering with Food Rescue Kitchen on a new TV series which airs this weekend that aims to shine a light on the real and growing issues of food waste, food poverty and social isolation in New Zealand.

Celebrating success

The Director General of MPI, Ray Smith says it's important for his department to celebrate the success of a whole range of groups and people around the country.

Biosecurity award for M. bovis work

A small company which mobilised veterinarians around the country to deal with Mycoplasma bovis was one of the winners in this year's Biosecurity Awards, held at Parliament.

Cyclone's devastating legacy

One of the country's top Māori sheep and beef farms is facing a five-year battle to get back to where it was before Cyclone Gabrielle struck just over 14 months ago.

National

Machinery & Products

PM opens new Power Farming facility

Morrinsville based Power Farming Group has launched a flagship New Zealand facility in partnership with global construction manufacturer JCB Construction.

AGTEK and ARGO part ways

After 12 years of representing the Landini and McCormick brands in New Zealand, Bay of Plenty-based AGTEK and the brands’…

100 years of Farmall Tractors

Returning after an enforced break, the Wheat and Wheels Rally will take place on the Lauriston -Barhill Road, North-East of…

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Cut with care

OPINION: The new government has clearly signalled big cuts across the public service.

Bubble burst!

OPINION: Your canine crusader is not surprised by the recent news that New Zealand plant-based ‘fake meat’ business is in…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter