People should be refused border entry if caught bringing in biosecurity risks - National MP Hamish Walker

There are calls within Parliament for border officials to have more authority when dealing with people who are knowingly bringing high-risk biosecurity items into the country.

National MP Hamish Walker has put together a Members' Bill that would increase infringement fees at the border from $400 to $1000 for people trying to bring in illegal biosecurity breaching items.

The Clutha Southland MP told Newshub protecting the border is key to keeping the primary sector safe.

"Over the past 10 years there's been a 35 percent increase in visitor numbers arriving into New Zealand. That's increased up to around 5.5 million," he said,

"We've had some pretty serious diseases like Mycoplasma Bovis and Myrtle Rust. My Bill just tries to deter people from bringing high-risk biosecurity items into New Zealand that can really hurt a $46 billion sector."

It would also give officers stronger authority to refuse entry for those attempting to breach biosecurity laws.

"For example if someone brings pork knowingly into New Zealand, it gives those officials the ability to refuse entry.

"If this can deter people from bringing in high-risk biosecurity items that can literally cripple an industry. For example, the Mycoplasma Bovis response has cost close to a billion dollars. This is serious stuff," he said.

Walker is optimistic the Bill would be supported across Parliament if it's drawn from the ballot.

"I'd hope other parties would support it. If not they're sending the message to New Zealand that they don't value farmers and they don't value the primary sector industry. I hope to receive cross-party support."