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Farmers President Calls For Instant Fine At Border

Federated Farmers President Calls For Instant Fines At Border

Federated Farmers President Alistair Polson today called for the Government to bring in instant fines for passengers carrying prohibited food or plant materials.

Mr Polson was speaking at the Dairy Farmers of New Zealand Annual Conference in Wellington.

"A system of instant fines would be a quick and effective way to reduce the serious biosecurity risks that threaten New Zealand. At present, travelers receive a slap on the wrist - just the loss of food or plant material when it is confiscated."

"If New Zealand had a reputation as a nation that took its biosecurity seriously, then it would be in a far better situation. The Quarantine Service X-ray machines at Auckland Airport confiscated 7,200 kilograms of fresh produce last year. The Detector Dogs made 3,182 seizures."

"Those figures indicate that it is not a minor problem. The risks are very serious.

"The Government has the law in place but is refusing to enforce it. A real deterrent is needed to stop people giving smuggling a try when packing their bags to come here. A quick and simple fine would be such a deterrent."

Mr Polson said that education about the problem was also needed, and that New Zealand was falling behind in this area.

"New Zealand spends $8,000 a year on educating people coming into the country about the biosecurity risks. In contrast, Australia spends $1,000,000."

ENDS

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