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Customs patrols Northland coast

MEDIA RELEASE MONDAY NOVEMBER 26

Customs patrols Northland coast

The New Zealand Customs Service is today demonstrating to a group of Northland and Auckland MPs the patrol work it is undertaking as part of its role in protecting New Zealand.

The MP for Te Tai Tokerau and Under-Secretary for Economic Development, Dover Samuels, and MPs John Tamihere, Brian Donnelly and Joe Hawke are due to board the Customs Patrol Boat Hawk patrolling the area north of the Bay of Islands this morning (Monday November 26).

Customs Auckland Air and Marine Manager, Paul Campbell, says November and December are the peak months for yachts to arrive in New Zealand from the Pacific, because of the favourable weather conditions.

“In the 2000 calendar year 567 small craft arrived in New Zealand, almost half of them in the two months of November and December, and most of those made their first landfall in Opua,” says Mr Campbell.

“Already in the first three weeks of November this year about 130 yachts have arrived at Opua.

“The vast majority of these yachties are law-abiding. They let us know they’re coming and meet all Customs, Immigration and Quarantine requirements.

“However we know from experience that a number of vessels have in the past taken advantage of the favourable weather and increased traffic at this time of year to pursue illegal activities, such as smuggling drugs or prohibited weapons.

“It is important for Customs to be on hand to check out any suspicious craft, unauthorised landings or questionable behaviour,” says Mr Campbell.

Customs also patrols by air, chartering a light twin aircraft, and works closely with the New Zealand Defence Force, sharing information from the Orion air patrols.

ENDS

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