Border Patrol, a series that shows the thousands of boats and planes, scores of passengers and tonnes of freight arriving from overseas every week into New Zealand as a result their borders are constantly under threat – from drugs, weapons, pornography, and suspected terrorists – to plant pests and animal diseases that could cripple the economy overnight.
Last year, a record number of passengers crossed the border – 9.2 million – of which 2.5 million were international visitors. Traffic at the border is increasing each year and Customs expect 500,000 cargo containers and over four million international passengers will arrive in New Zealand this year.
The Customs Service continues its war against drugs and other illegal goods. With a nationwide P epidemic, Customs is at the frontline confiscating alarming amounts of the drugs precursor ingredient, pseudoephedrine. As well, increasing amounts of cocaine and ecstasy are now being detected arriving at our airports, through our mail centres or by sea. Other Customs operations include patrolling the marine border to ensure incoming yachts comply with Custom’s entry requirements; joint operations with the New Zealand Police to stamp out global internet porn and child exploitation networks, to working with Medsafe ( the NZ medicine watchdog) to stop the importation of counterfeit drugs – an industry now estimated to be worth $US 40 billion globally.
MAF’s mission is to keep New Zealand pest and disease-free. From discovering weavels and maggots in undeclared food at the airport, to mosquitos, snakes and spiders that have hitched a ride in international shipping containers or onboard luxury yachts. All pose a potential threat to our agricultural based economy. Plus, there’s always the unusual such as the illegal aligator head found at the mail centre. MAF’s quarantine officers uncover risk items on a daily basis.
And no-one is immune from inspection – not even returning big-game trophy hunter Davey Hughes , or the New Zealand navy as they return home from duties in the Gulf.