New x-rays, staff at the bor­der

The Orchardist - - Contents - Pho­tos Nigel Marple

“The new ma­chines will be more re­li­able than the Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries’ older x-ray units and will pro­vide bet­ter im­age qual­ity”. – Pri­mary In­dus­tries Min­is­ter Nathan Guy

New x-ray tech­nol­ogy and more front­line staff will help to beef up New Zealand’s biose­cu­rity de­fences at the bor­der, says Pri­mary In­dus­tries Min­is­ter Nathan Guy. Mr Guy un­veiled a new x-ray ma­chine at Auck­land Air­port, one of 12 ma­chines that have been in­stalled around the coun­try. “The new ma­chines will be more re­li­able than the Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries’ older x-ray units and will pro­vide bet­ter im­age qual­ity,” says Mr Guy. “MPI will be able to screen bag­gage with greater ac­cu­racy and im­age qual­ity. This means bor­der staff will be bet­ter equipped to spot biose­cu­rity risk items be­fore they en­ter New Zealand. New x-ray ma­chines have been in­stalled in Auck­land, Christchurch, Wellington and Queen­stown air­ports, and the Auck­land In­ter­na­tional Mail Cen­tre. Mr Guy also pre­sented of­fi­cial ap­point­ment cer­tifi­cates to­day to 32 new quar­an­tine in­spec­tors and five new de­tec­tor dog han­dlers.

“re­search shows that visi­tors from China tend to be poorly in­formed about New Zealand’s biose­cu­rity laws and, there­fore, are less likely to de­clare or dis­pose risk items upon ar­rival.”

Fol­low­ing the grad­u­a­tion, 16 of the new quar­an­tine in­spec­tors will be based in Auck­land. Eight will go to Wellington and to Christchurch. Three new dog teams (han­dler and dog) will go to Auck­land, and one will go to both Wellington and Queen­stown. De­tec­tor dog teams are spe­cially trained to search bag­gage, mail and cargo to lo­cate un­de­clared or for­got­ten agri­cul­tural prod­ucts. “The new front­line re­cruits will strengthen New Zealand’s biose­cu­rity front­line be­fore the busy sum­mer peak sea­son. Their ap­point­ment means close to 100 new quar­an­tine in­spec­tors have joined MPI in the last 14 months,” says Mr Guy. “Staff num­bers will be fur­ther bol­stered by MPI’s plans to re­cruit a fur­ther 24 new quar­an­tine in­spec­tors in March next year.” In ad­di­tion to the new staff and x-ray ma­chines, Mr Guy says MPI has launched a project to en­cour­age more vol­un­tary dec­la­ra­tions of biose­cu­rity risk goods at Auck­land air­port by Chi­nese pass­port hold­ers. “China is now New Zealand’s sec­ond largest source of air pas­sen­ger ar­rivals. Re­search shows that visi­tors from China tend to be poorly in­formed about New Zealand’s biose­cu­rity laws and, there­fore, are less likely to de­clare or dis­pose risk items upon ar­rival.”

Ini­tia­tives to im­prove com­pli­ance in­clude use of trans­la­tors and elec­tronic trans­lat­ing tools at risk as­sess­ment and search ar­eas, and self-search sta­tion where pas­sen­gers check their own lug­gage be­fore of­fi­cial biose­cu­rity checks. “Biose­cu­rity is my num­ber one pri­or­ity and th­ese new ini­tia­tives show that MPI is com­mit­ted to strength­en­ing New Zealand’s bor­der de­fences,” says Mr Guy.

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