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$200 Fines Have Impact On 'Biosecurity Behaviour'

21 June 2002 - For immediate release


It is now a year since MAF introduced an instant fine regime at international ports of entry to enforce compliance with New Zealand's biosecurity laws.

Statistics to the 10th of June 2002 show there had been 9,406 instant fines issued by MAF Quarantine Service for failure to declare risk goods at airports across New Zealand.

Of these, 90.4% have been paid, generating an estimated $1,658,200 over the 12 month period that the infringement programme has been in place. A small number - 41 fines amounting to $8,200 - went to court to be settled.

* Change in behaviour

The statistics show a decrease in undeclared seizures, from 28% before the infringement programme to 24% in the financial year since the implementation of the programme. This corresponds with an increase in declared seizures, from 72% of all seizures before infringements, to 76% after infringements started being issued.

These changes are being attributed to the deterrent effect of the infringement programme and to biosecurity awareness programmes such as Protect New Zealand. The recently announced Protect New Zealand Week from 8 to 14 July will further highlight the need for New Zealanders to take extreme care to prevent introduction of new exotic pests and diseases.

* Fines by airport

In the 2000-2001 year MAF's Quarantine Service provided clearance for 22,441 aircraft and 3,424 vessels in accordance with biosecurity legislation and MAF standards.

Auckland Airport, New Zealand's major hub, recorded about 6500 fines. Christchurch followed with 1813 fines, Wellington came in third with 441 fines and 102 fines were issued at Palmerston North. Other airports where fines were issued at were Hamilton (56), Dunedin (46) and Queenstown (38). The airports attract widely different numbers of inbound travellers. For the year through to May 2002 Auckland attracted more than 2.4 million passengers and crew. Christchurch had more than 530,000 arrivals, followed by Wellington with 234,000. Rounded figures for the other airports were: Hamilton - 57,000; Palmerston North - 39,000; Dunedin - 31,000; and Queenstown - 8,000.

* Infringement rates by nationality

The infringement rate is calculated per 1000 passengers to take into account a rate relative to the number of passengers entering New Zealand.

New Zealanders and Australians have the lowest infringement rates, at 1.7 and 0.99 fines per thousand passengers respectively.

Australians had the most positive figures. Although Australians constituted 20% of arrivals they only attracted 7% (672) of fine to the end of may). New Zealanders, who represented almost 40 of the total).

Passengers of Asian (not SE Asia) and Middle eastern nationality have the highest infringement rate at 7.5 fines per 1000 passengers, followed by Europeans at 4.8 fines per 1000 passengers, and African nationals at 4.3 fines per thousand passengers. North Americans and Japanese nationals have similar infringement rates at around 3.6 fines per 1000 passengers entering New Zealand, while passengers from South East Asia, Central and South America and the Pacific Islands have infringement rates close to the average rate of 2.6 per 1000 passengers.

In terms of actual volume and numbers Europeans (at 13% of inbound travellers) attracted as many fines as the total issued to New Zealanders and also represented 24% of those fined.

* Half of all risk goods are fresh produce

Fruitfly host material makes up 48% of the undeclared risk items and appeared on more than 4200 infringement notices. Taken as a group, failure to formally declare contaminated equipment (e.g. footwear and tents), meat products, stored food products and bee products made up more than 30% of notices; that is approximately 2700 fines.

Other categories of fine were for illegal non-declaration of fresh produce, seeds, dairy products, animal products, wood products, egg products, fish products and plant products. There have been 40 fines (0.5% of all fines) for attempts to bring in nursery stock.

* Age profiles

With one exception fines against age groups have corresponded to the proportion of travellers in each age group e.g. 23.7% of travellers were in the 25-34 age group and that age group attracted 22.1% of fines.

The one exception was the 15-24 age group which at 13.7% of all inbound travellers accounted for 17.3% of all fines. Figures for gender in that age group show young males to be marginally worse offenders than young females, although in all other age groups (except 65 and over) female passengers are marginally more likely to be fined.

See for details of Protect New Zealand Week.


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