More border staff to deal with tourist boom
New quarantine officers and a new queue line in Auckland will help to alleviate peak-time congestion at the country's main airports, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) says.
A group of 23 quarantine officers are among more than 40 MPI frontline staff who have graduated in Auckland after seven weeks of training.
MPI border clearance director Steve Gilbert says the tourism boom is bringing in more travellers who are unfamiliar with New Zealand's strict biosecurity requirements.
"That's mean we are undertaking additional baggage searches, and this is having an impact on queues during peak times," he said.
"The new staff will help alleviate the congestion, as will the introduction of a new queue line at Auckland Airport this summer."
The new queue line would allow low-risk Australian and New Zealand passport holders to pass through MPI's biosecurity controls more quickly.
With another busy summer ahead, Mr Gilbert said staff were conscious of the increasing fruit fly threat from Australia and parts of the Pacific.
They were also on the lookout for other threats like the brown marmorated stink bug, which has invaded the United States and parts of Europe.