Plaudits for biosecurity video

A new video is aimed at creating awareness of biosecurity threats. Photo: MPI
A new video is aimed at creating awareness of biosecurity threats. Photo: MPI
Biosecurity New Zealand has gone big on ensuring it spreads its message to visitors, before they even get on the ground.

The Ministry of Primary Industries spent almost $123,000 on a new in-flight biosecurity video, designed to reach many of the almost 4million tourists and travellers who fly into the country every year.

The video, which reminds international visitors to be vigilant and aware of unwanted pests and diseases, is being picked up by the majority of airlines that fly into the country. Roger Smith, head of Biosecurity New Zealand, said its production cost was funded from the border clearance levy, charged to all arriving visitors.

''It's a small investment in the wider context of protecting New Zealand from unwanted pests and diseases. Things like the Queensland fruit fly and brown marmorated stink bug have the potential to cause significant damage to our primary sector, our environment and our unique way of life.''

Smith said the multilingual video will eventually be played on 28 airlines and will be seen by millions of air passengers as they head to New Zealand.

Federated Farmers welcomed the move.

''The primary sector has waited an incredibly long time for airlines to play their part in our national biosecurity border system,'' biosecurity spokeswoman Karen Williams said.

''It was surprising that our national carrier didn't lead with this initiative, as they are considered thought leaders in the airline industry.

''Travellers, even those returning home who should know better, can accidentally leave risk items in their hand luggage. I hope the in-flight video will ensure those items are dumped in the bins.''

There are versions of the videos in English and Mandarin and the latter version features quarantine officers Fin and Kenneth, usually found on the ground at Auckland International Airport.

Mr Smith said he expected the video to have a lifespan of between two and three years.

''During that time the return to New Zealand taxpayers, through protecting the country and our primary industries, will be beyond measure.''

-By Brent Melvill

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