Biosecurity New Zealand

For anyone entering New Zealand, besides immigration, this will be your next process before exiting the international airport. What is Biosecurity? In its simplest form, it is minimising the entry of pest and diseases  which may cause harm to the social, economic and environment of  New Zealand. In your declaration cards, Biosecurity questions must be answered correctly identifying the major areas of concern. Read and declare correctly. If your are not sure, ask the Biosecurity officers .

How is it possible?  Well, New Zealand is  isolated from other landmass and thus this gives it a unique opportunity to protect its borders.  As such, all points of entry into New Zealand by international travellers and cargo is monitored.

What does this mean to you? As a backpacker, like me, you may have a pair of hiking boots in your pack.  These footwear tend to carry soil which are carriers of viruses, bacteria and weed seeds. These elements can cause serious damage  especially to our Agribusiness sector. If you had traveled to an animal farm, for instance, harmful viruses and bacteria like Foot and Mouth Diseases , could travel in that soil. Think about it, New Zealand has a very big dairy and beef industry.

At the international airports, the most common problem we find is people carrying common  fresh fruits like apples, bananas and oranges. When caught, they wonder why a single apple is a problem. It certainly is to Biosecurity. New Zealand is free of the dreaded Fruit Fly which has a huge appetite – damaging a wide variety of crops. Our main concern is the Horticulture Industry. New Zealand is a big exporter of fresh fruits. A single apple may contain an egg, larvae or even an adult fly embedded inside the fruit.  How about harbouring viruses and fungus. The fact is , the potential to cause serious harm and risk is high. This includes all fresh produce.

Dairy products like milk and  cheese ;   meat and egg products;    plant and plant products and so on as listed on your declaration cards. The message here is know what you and your fellow travellers are packing;  ensure that your boots, tents and all equipments are clean; read and declare correctly. If you are unsure, always ask. Biosecurity is here to ensure that you get to see the New Zealand you wanted to see – with its pristine environment supported by a vibrant economy.   Welcome to New Zealand.

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