Biosecurity NZ gets tough on unauthorised cargo facilities

Biosecurity authorities are toughening up on unscrupulous cargo facilities, in an effort to keep unwanted pests and diseases out of the country.

From now on Biosecurity New Zealand officers can issue infringement notices to transitional and containment facilities who don't follow regulations.

"Any individual or company that operates a facility without a registered operator, or who fails to comply with the operating standards for that facility will now be considered for an infringement notice," said Team Manager Freight and Mail, Biosecurity NZ Chris Denny.

He said one area they will be paying particular attention to is the movement of uncleared goods, including sea containers, without correct authorisation. 

"This type of non-compliance poses a critical risk to biosecurity," he said.

The infringement fee for each offence is $400 for an individual and $800 for a corporation.

"The infringement notices will be primarily used to address relatively minor breaches of the Biosecurity Act. They send a strong message about the importance of biosecurity and will deter people and organisations from breaking the rules," said Denny.

Under New Zealand's biosecurity rules, imported cargo must first go to an approved transitional or container facility for inspection, where necessary, and other checks.

Meanwhile an independent review of biosecurity procedure ordered by Biosecurity Minister Damien O'Connor is underway, looking at air and cruise passenger pathways.

It was announced after the discovery of fruit fly on Auckland's North Shore in February, and is being lead by Australian Rob Delane.