Biosecurity Minister David Carter says Horticulture New Zealand’s claim that New Zealand’s border protection has been significantly reduced because of the Rugby World Cup is rubbish.
“It’s ridiculous to suggest that New Zealand would relax its biosecurity safeguards as thousands of visitors pour into the country. Horticulture New Zealand is being alarmist about a screening process that has been in place at our airports for some time.
“In 2009, the Australian and New Zealand Prime Ministers agreed a joint plan to streamline trans-Tasman travel. This includes Direct Exit which enables our biosecurity staff to focus on high-risk travellers, while enabling low-risk New Zealand and Australian passport holders to bypass the x-ray process.
“However, no passenger leaves the airport without being risk assessed by MAF in some way, either by roving biosecurity profilers, detector dogs, x-rays and declarations. All non-New Zealand and Australian passport holders have their bags x-ray screened or searched.
“Horticulture New Zealand does itself a disservice by suggesting that New Zealand is using the Rugby World Cup as a reason to relax our border protection. We would not put our crucial agriculture and horticulture sectors at such obvious risk,” Mr Carter says.