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Cablegate: New Zealand Country Clearance for Michael

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 WELLINGTON 000864

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR EAP/ANP - DRICCI
STATE PLEASE PASS TO NASA/OER - ELIZABETH WILLIAMS

E.O. 12985: N/A
TAGS: OTRA TSPA NZ
SUBJECT: NEW ZEALAND COUNTRY CLEARANCE FOR MICHAEL
COMBERIATE, ADAN RODRIGUEZ, SHANNON RODRIGUEZ AND KURT
RUSH, DECEMBER 5-19

REF: STATE 203671

1. (SBU) Embassy welcomes and grants country clearance to
Michael Comberiate, Adan Rodriguez, Shannon Rodriguez and
Kurt Rush, members of a delegation from NASA's Goddard
Space Flight Center, to travel to Christchurch, New
Zealand, and McMurdo Station, Antarctica, from December 5
to 19, 2005. The purpose of this visit is to refurbish
and retest the NASA Antarctic Interactive Launch Support
(NAILS) system and to support on-orbit operations for the
Polar Operational Environmental
Satellite (POES).

2. (U) Embassy understands that country clearance is the
only assistance required.

3. (SBU) Embassy point of contact is Political Officer
Tod Duran. Contact details are as follows:

Office: 644-462-6043
Fax: 644-472-3537
Cell: 027-451-2538
E-mail: DuranTE@state.gov

4. (SBU) All TDY visitors to Embassy Wellington are
required to report to the Regional Security Office for a
security briefing if they have not completed an approved
overseas personal security-training course.

5. (U) Visitors should use local taxi service, which is
generally safe, reliable and frequent. Taxi fare from the
airport to downtown Christchurch hotels is approximately
NZD $35.00.

6. (U) 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 up to USD
$300.00. Personal checks will not be accepted.

7. (SBU) 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 NZD $200.00 (USD $150.00). Biosecurity
is a serious issue in New Zealand and fines will be
administered immediately and without warnings.

8. (SBU) Security Information:

a. (SBU) 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 and 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. (SBU) 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. (SBU) 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 demonstrations are 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. (SBU) 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. (SBU) 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 drugs in New Zealand are
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. (U) 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 not to become a
target of opportunity.

g. (U) 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. (SBU) Travelers intending to bring and use any USG
provided electronic or photographic equipment must contact
the RSO prior to introducing that equipment into the
Chancery. Personal electronic or photographic equipment
is not permitted in the Chancery. Only in severely
limited cases will a notebook or laptop computer be
permitted to be used in the Chancery.

i. (U) 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.

j. (U) 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

k. (U) 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).

MCCORMICK

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