A Costly Mistake

Old Aug 7th 2010, 4:30 am
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Default A Costly Mistake

I have had a guest arrive from Germany today for his first visit to NZ. Just a reminder to everyone coming here that you should not only read the customs declaration carefully, but also try and be awake enough after 30 odd hours travelling to remember if you have a piece of fruit in your bag that you forgot to eat on your travels!! My guest just got charged $400 for having a bloomin apple in his bag that he had completely forgotten about. That is $400 spending money given to customs. Surely they could have just destroyed the damn apple. Jobsworth people - surely common sense should have prevailed and allowances have been made. It was not like he was trying to sneak stuff in to infect the bloomin country. Now I know all about biosecurity but this is ridiculous!!

You have all been warned - this was coming into Christchurch airport so remember if you take food on the plane to eat it all before you disembark or leave it on the plane!
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Old Aug 7th 2010, 6:06 am
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Default Re: A Costly Mistake

Sorry to hear of the situation Shirl but there are signs everywhere warning incoming passengers to dispose of fruit. I know he was tired, but rules are rules.
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Old Aug 7th 2010, 6:15 am
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Default Re: A Costly Mistake

We fly into Christchurch and Auckland from overseas, and I have never seen anyone fined after the beagle spots them: just given the opportunity to dispose of the article(s). Very unlucky.... did the beagle not get him?
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Old Aug 7th 2010, 6:34 am
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Default Re: A Costly Mistake

Yeah, the same thing happened to a friend of mine. That was an apple too, and the same $400.
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Old Aug 7th 2010, 6:38 am
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Default Re: A Costly Mistake

Sorry Shirl but one rotten apple could rot the whole barrel, New Zealand has its tough biosecurity laws for a good reason because fire blight could literally wipe out an entire industry for decades to come. Fruit and meat (foot and mouth) are the two biggest no-no's.
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Old Aug 7th 2010, 6:59 am
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Default Re: A Costly Mistake

Originally Posted by Expat Kiwi View Post
Sorry Shirl but one rotten apple could rot the whole barrel, New Zealand has its tough biosecurity laws for a good reason because fire blight could literally wipe out an entire industry for decades to come. Fruit and meat (foot and mouth) are the two biggest no-no's.


Yes I hear what you are saying but I came in with a wheat bag teddy that you microwave to keep you warm and they just confiscated it and destroyed it! Why didn't they just destroy this one lonely little apple the same way!!
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Old Aug 7th 2010, 6:59 am
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Default Re: A Costly Mistake

Originally Posted by Am Loolah View Post
Yeah, the same thing happened to a friend of mine. That was an apple too, and the same $400.
sucks eh!!
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Old Aug 7th 2010, 7:02 am
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Default Re: A Costly Mistake

Originally Posted by Jan n Neil View Post
We fly into Christchurch and Auckland from overseas, and I have never seen anyone fined after the beagle spots them: just given the opportunity to dispose of the article(s). Very unlucky.... did the beagle not get him?


No beagle sniffed this one out - are they just trained for drugs do you think or should they have picked up all of it? After 30 hours travelling and being nervous on your first long haul flight I really felt sorry for him. His pocket money has been reduced drastically! He is only here for 2 weeks so didn't bring much anyway!
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Old Aug 7th 2010, 7:03 am
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Default Re: A Costly Mistake

Geeze, I nearly got caught out on this one. At the last minute I opened my bag to get out my passport and found an apple, but dumped in it the bin just before the Bio security/MAF check point.
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Old Aug 7th 2010, 7:04 am
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Default Re: A Costly Mistake

Originally Posted by shirl View Post
No beagle sniffed this one out - are they just trained for drugs do you think or should they have picked up all of it? After 30 hours travelling and being nervous on your first long haul flight I really felt sorry for him. His pocket money has been reduced drastically! He is only here for 2 weeks so didn't bring much anyway!
beagles are for food detection, he was unlucky.
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Old Aug 7th 2010, 8:08 am
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Default Re: A Costly Mistake

Originally Posted by cleverchap View Post
Geeze, I nearly got caught out on this one. At the last minute I opened my bag to get out my passport and found an apple, but dumped in it the bin just before the Bio security/MAF check point.
You were a lucky one weren't you. What do you suppose the cleaners do with the rubbish in the bins!!
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Old Aug 7th 2010, 10:07 am
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Default Re: A Costly Mistake

Apparently the rubbish in the MAF bins is destroyed in an incinerator to destroy all possible sources of plant/animal diseases like fungi, bacteria etc. Everything confiscated is treated as biohazardous waste.

When the MAF inspectors were inspecting our goods after the container arrived, I bombarded them with tons of questions -and after finishing the inspection they tried to recruite our dogs into their food-sniffing dog squad!
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Old Aug 7th 2010, 11:09 am
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Smile Re: A Costly Mistake

Should have eaten the evidence. Customs/MAF are cnuts, always have been. The worst part about it is much of it is needless.
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Old Aug 7th 2010, 11:42 am
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Default Re: A Costly Mistake

Originally Posted by Am Loolah View Post
Yeah, the same thing happened to a friend of mine. That was an apple too, and the same $400.
Yep, mine too. Picked up an apply in the transit lounge in LA, stuck it in her bag for the flight and then forgot all about it.
She got away without a fine though, just a stern telling off.
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Old Aug 7th 2010, 12:39 pm
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Default Re: A Costly Mistake

It's the total randomness of the fines that is annoying. I have seen many people pounced on by the beagles, last time I was in the airport an old dear was found to have a banana in her suitcase and it was just laughed off as a silly mistake. The banana was in her suitcase, not her hand luggage!! Shoving a piece of fruit in your handbag is an easy mistake, packing a banana in your suitcase, begs the question, why on earth would you?

I would far rather they charged everyone $100, instead of the random process of charging some people $400 and others nothing. I guess it depends on whether your face fits and the mood of the official on the day. $400 is a lot of money and I think the airlines could be a bit more vigilant and at least remind passengers before they land.

Who reads all the signs on arrival at an airport? There's a million and one other distractions and usually one is focussed solely on how to get out of there as quickly as possible, following only the signs for Duty Free, Arrivals and Baggage reclaim.
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