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New biosecurity fines to be introduced

Arriving vessels, transitional and containment facilities and cruise ship passengers will face new infringement offences for sloppy biosecurity practices that expose New Zealand to risk from harmful diseases and pests.

The new offences will introduce fines of $400 for individuals and $800 for other entities, such as companies, for low-level offending that is not significant enough to warrant prosecution, says Steve Gilbert, Border Clearance Services Director, Biosecurity New Zealand.

“The infringements will send a strong message about the importance of biosecurity and will deter people and organisations from breaking the rules.”

Under the changes, Biosecurity New Zealand’s quarantine officers will be able to infringe transitional and containment facilities that do not have an approved operator, or don’t comply with operating standards.

International vessels will face fines for failing to notify Biosecurity New Zealand of their arrival and for failing to declare what steps they have taken to meet relevant craft risk management standards when asked to do so.

The new offences will come into force early next year.

Biosecurity New Zealand has also taken immediate steps to allow officers to fine cruise ship passengers leaving a vessel permanently if they fail to declare risk items.

Mr Gilbert says Biosecurity New Zealand intends to introduce a new declaration process that will allow it to bring in similar fines for passengers who only temporarily leave the ship.

“We plan to treat cruise passengers the same way as travellers who fly to New Zealand. Passengers who don’t declare goods that could harm New Zealand should face a fine, whether they arrive by sea or air.”

Biosecurity New Zealand is part of the Ministry for Primary Industries.

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