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Summer stats from the border
21 February 2019

Biosecurity New Zealand reports a busy summer so far for quarantine officers at Auckland International Airport, with a record number of international arrivals in December – up 3.4% to 529,443 passengers. Here are some interesting numbers:

·         On average, 17,079 people went through biosecurity processes each day (up from 16,520 the year before).

·         The busiest day was 23 December, with 19,500 arrivals.

·         Even though arrival numbers have increased, clearance times have decreased. The average processing time for low-risk passengers was six minutes and 51 seconds (down from seven minutes and 26 seconds the year before).

·         Compliance for passengers coming through the Green Lane system with nothing to declare is at 99.4%.

·         So far this high-risk season, biosecurity staff at the airport have intercepted 13 stink bugs (compared to four the year before).

·         There were 1,040 infringement notices issued by biosecurity staff in December.

In other news from the frontline:

·         New x-ray screening technology is being trialled in Auckland. Called Real Time Tomography (RTT), the machine technology provides clear three-dimensional images that can easily be zoomed in on. Eventually, individual bags will be screened before passengers pick them up at baggage carousels, resulting in faster and more accurate processing of passengers.

·         A recent front-page story in the NZ Herald highlighted the level of public support for taking a hard line on travellers who don’t follow biosecurity rules. The story was about an elderly woman failing to declare some nectarines at Wellington airport, on her way from Australia to the Hawke’s Bay for her annual holiday. The nectarines could have contained fruit fly and the woman was a regular traveller to a major growing area - at last count, there were nearly 900 favourable comments about the strong action taken by Biosecurity New Zealand on the NZ Herald Facebook page.

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