Key Government agencies are this week conducting further training to ensure they are well prepared to respond should a vessel carrying illegal migrants arrive in New Zealand waters.
The Operation Chief, Customs Air and Marine Manager Paul Campbell, says this does NOT mean that there is any information suggesting a vessel is currently en route to New Zealand.
“This training is the second phase of a programme that began in June. It is part of sensible contingency planning for the possibility of such an event.
“Customs regularly works with other agencies and have an ongoing programme of training.
The agencies involved are Customs, Police, MAF Quarantine, Health, Defence and Immigration.
The exercise runs today (Wednesday) and tomorrow and about 80 staff will be involved.
If a vessel carrying illegal migrants arrived in New Zealand’s waters, the roles of the agencies would be:
- Customs: to stop, board and direct the vessel and the people on board the vessel.
- Police: to provide safety and security for all people on board the vessel and to enforce New Zealand legislation including the new provisions relating to Transnational Organised Crime, through investigation, detection, apprehension and prosecution of offenders for criminal offences.
- Health: assessing the health status of those on board the vessel and managing any health issues.
- MAF Quarantine: Assessing the biosecurity risk and managing any biosecurity issues.
- Defence: to provide the transport and support and assistance.
- Immigration: to decide who has the legal right to enter the country and determine claims for refugee status.