Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Going Overseas During School Holidays!


Nelson Airport

 Successful Biosecurity Trial at Auckland Airport During School Holidays

Auckland, New Zealand - Biosecurity New Zealand extends its gratitude to its dedicated staff and cooperative travellers for their support during a highly successful trial of an improved system for screening international arrivals at Auckland Airport over the recent school holidays.

Mike Inglis, the northern regional commissioner of Biosecurity New Zealand, praised the agency's officers for their tireless efforts. "We want to thank our officers for their hard work. They have done a great job and continue to play an invaluable role in protecting New Zealand's environment and primary exports while helping passengers when they arrive. They have shown professionalism and commitment in stepping up to address pressures on the international travel and border system both during and following the pandemic," said Mr. Inglis.

The agency also expressed its appreciation for travellers who provided positive feedback and supported efforts to keep New Zealand free of pests and diseases, safeguarding the work of farmers and growers.

During the busy holiday period, the average biosecurity processing time for arriving passengers was nearly nine minutes, marking a notable reduction from the high of 13.16 minutes in February. Biosecurity New Zealand remains dedicated to collaborating with partner organisations, including the Public Service Association, Border Ops Association, Customs, airlines, and the airport, to introduce innovative border processing system improvements while maintaining robust biosecurity practices.

As part of their recent efforts, Biosecurity New Zealand reallocated 20 officers from other parts of the ministry to assist during the school holidays. The agency also introduced a novel approach for processing low-risk passengers who have nothing to declare. This method utilizes declaration information to select and assess traveler's for risk after they pass through customs checks. Eligible passengers are then directed to the biosecurity express lane through a monitored door.

Mr. Inglis stated, "We're allowing low-risk travellers to exit biosecurity without going through baggage x-ray screening. The new approach allows eligible travellers to enter the lane without passing through our normal control area." The approach was trialed during the first week of the holidays and subsequently utilised during peak arrival times for the remainder of the holiday period. Over 17,000 travellers underwent this new process between September 28 and October 8.

The new approach, combined with increased staffing, proved successful in reducing pressure on the border system and decreasing biosecurity processing times. These improvements have now been integrated into the agency's clearance procedures. Importantly, this approach does not compromise biosecurity standards. Selected low-risk passengers still undergo risk assessment by officers, screening by detector dogs, and other biosecurity checks.

Nationwide, Biosecurity New Zealand processed 489,894 arriving passengers in September, a notable increase from 459,122 in August. During the two-week holiday period, biosecurity officers issued 163 fines of $400 to air passengers who failed to declare goods that could introduce pests or diseases into New Zealand.

Biosecurity New Zealand's successful trial and ongoing commitment to innovation ensure the nation's safety while facilitating the smooth flow of international travellers and goods.

Ministry for Primary Industries

Manatu Ahu Matua.

Pigeon Post News.

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