Instant fines for NZ visitors

Travellers who incorrectly complete Arrival Cards after landing in New Zealand will be issued on-the-spot fines of NZ$400, under new regulations which become effective today. The new Infringement Notice regime covers a total of 70 offences, and also includes failure to declare tobacco or alcohol over the duty-free limit, or even using a mobile phone in restricted airport or cruise terminal areas. NZ Customs says the new arrangement covers “strict liability offences,” meaning travellers will have “committed an offence even though you had no intention of doing so and there is no criminal conviction”. The non-compliant activity includes refusing or failing to answer questions from a Customs Officer about documents, records or travel details, importing prohibited goods, or “where the contents of a parcel addressed to you do not match the description on the parcel declaration”.

The $400 fine is consistent with Biosecurity NZ’s penalty for failing to declare risk items at the border. “Fines send a strong message about the importance of protecting the border, and deter people from breaking the rules,” NZ Customs said. The agency also debunked suggestions the new arrangements were “just revenue gathering,” claiming that the revenue collected was negligible. The new arrangements have become effective following a six-month education period to introduce the changes.

Source: Travel Daily