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Cablegate: Gent- New Zealand Country Clearance

VZCZCXYZ0029
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHWL #0636/01 2410222
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 290222Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4632
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC 0345

UNCLAS WELLINGTON 000636

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

USDA FOR FAS/FAA/DEVER, FAS/ARS/MICHELE WILLIAMS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR NZ

SUBJECT: GENT- NEW ZEALAND COUNTRY CLEARANCE

REF WASHDC 686530

1. Embassy grants country clearance to David Gent,
Research Plant Pathologist, USDA/ARS/PWA, Oregon to visit
New Zealand on personal travel from December 10-20, 2007.

2. Point of contact at the American Embassy is the office
of Foreign Agricultural Service, USDA. Their contact
details are:

Atn: Laura Scandurra, Agricultural Attache
Tel: 64-4-462-6012
Fax: 64-4-462-6016
Email: agwellington(at)usda.gov

3. Travelers can exchange currency at the airport upon
arrival and ATM machines are readily available throughout
New Zealand. Check cashing privileges at the Embassy are
restricted to traveler's checks only upto US100.00.
Personal checks will not be accepted.

4. Visitors should use local taxi service, which is
generally safe, reliable and frequent. Taxi fare from
the airport to downtown Wellington hotels is
approximately NZD30.00. A commercial shuttle service is
also offered at the airport. Taxi fare from the airport
to downtown Auckland hotels is approximately NZD55-NZD65.
A commercial shuttle service is also offered at the
Auckland airport.

5. Travelers can exchange currency at the airport upon
arrival and ATM machines are readily available throughout
New Zealand. Check cashing privileges at the Embassy are
limited to traveler's checks only up to USD 300.00 daily.
Personal checks will not be accepted.

6. Biosecurity Fines:

The Government of New Zealand instituted fines for non-
declared biosecurity hazards on travelers entering New
Zealand with undeclared plant, animal or food material.
Travelers found carrying these undeclared items will be
immediately fined NZD200.00 (USD150.00). Biosecurity is
a serious issue in New Zealand and fines will be
administered immediately and without warnings.

7. Security Information:

a. All U.S. citizen personnel serving under the Chief of
Mission authority in a temporary status of 30 days or
more must complete appropriate overseas personal security
training prior to travel (04 State 66580). Employees who
have completed the Security Overseas Seminar course at
the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) after June 1, 2000,
meet this requirement. All other TDY personnel must
either (1) complete the approved seminar at FSI entitled
"Serving Abroad for Families & Employees" (SAFE), or (2)
have their agency certify to the Department of State's
Bureau of Diplomatic Security that the employee has
undergone equivalent security training. The contact for
this training is Assistant Director for Training at (703)
205-2617. Country clearance will not be granted for any
traveler with planned TDY in excess of 30 days if this
information is not stated/certified. POC for additional
information is RSO Wellington.

b. The U.S. Mission in New Zealand currently rates the
threat from transnational and indigenous terrorism as
low. There are no terrorist groups or support groups
believed to be operating in New Zealand at this time. In
light of the worldwide security alert all visitors should
heighten their security awareness and report any unusual
incidents to the Regional Security Officer.

c. Anonymous telephonic threats and obscure threat mail
have occasionally targeted U.S. diplomatic missions in
New Zealand. In response to U.S. policies and actions,
various groups in New Zealand have demonstrated
occasionally at the Embassy in Wellington and at the
Consulate in Auckland. These demonstrationsare usually
small and are peacefully conducted. During these
demonstrations, the host country police and protective
services normally provide adequate protection to the
Embassy and Consulate.

d. New Zealand is considered a medium threat crime
environment. As such, Wellington and Auckland have
experienced an increase in violent and petty crimes, but
they are usually non-confrontational in nature. However,
home invasion robberies and assaults, once very rare, are
becoming more frequent. Burglaries and thefts occur
countrywide but primarily in the large cities of
Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington, and visitors
should be especially aware that street crime, such as
scams and pickpockets is a daily occurrence in these
cities. Common sense precautions should be taken,
especially at night, to avoid becoming a target of
opportunity.

e. Generally, New Zealand does not play a significant
role in the world drug situation; however, evidence
indicates that New Zealand has been utilized as a transit
point for shipments of Ecstasy, Heroin and Cocaine to
Australia. The most abused drug in New Zealand is
locally produced methamphetamine and cannabis. There
have been increased amounts of lab seizures and violent
crime associated with groups attempting to control this
market.

f. All forms of public transportation are generally safe
at all times of the day; however, at night visitors
should use common sense precautions so as to not become a
target of opportunity.

g. The traffic situation in Auckland can be difficult
with a moderate amount of congestion. Wellington and
Christchurch traffic is significantly better; however,
during rush hour moderate delays can be expected.
Visitors are advised that traffic drives on the left-hand
side of the road. Visitors are advised that traffic
accidents are common and that it is safe to pull over so
that police may take an accident report. However,
visitors who experience hostility or anti-American
sentiment should depart the scene immediately and notify
the RSO.

h. Precautions should also be taken to not discuss
sensitive or classified information outside secure
environments or over unsecured and/or cellular
telephones, and to securely safeguard classified or
sensitive information at the Chancery and not at hotels
or residences.

i. Visitors should also be aware of the State
Department's Consular Information sheet for New Zealand
and the most recent Worldwide Caution Public
Announcements, which are available via the Internet at
http://travel.state.gov

j. In essence, visitors to New Zealand must exercise
appropriate caution and be alert to their surroundings
with regard to their personal security. Suspicious
incidents/activities should be reported to RSO Wellington
(Telephone (64)(4)462-6000, 24 hours/day).
Keegan

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