NZ biosecurity: huge fine for smuggling vines

Thursday, 23 May, 2024

NZ biosecurity: huge fine for smuggling vines

In New Zealand, a Blenheim-based winemaker who smuggled Australian vines into New Zealand and planted them has been placed on 5 months’ community detention and fined NZ$15,000 (AU$13,764).

The man was sentenced on two charges under the Biosecurity Act that he pleaded guilty to in June 2019. He took two cuttings from a Savagnin grapevine at a vineyard he was visiting in the Adelaide Hills in South Australia. The variety was not present in New Zealand, and he wanted to cultivate it at his vineyard.

“Our biosecurity is multi-layered with checks and balances that stretch from the importing country, through the border, and into the supply chain within New Zealand,” said the Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI) director of investigations Gary Orr.

“The vines have since been destroyed and testing showed there was no exotic pathogens found. 

“By breaking the rules in place to protect New Zealand from new pests and diseases, he took an unacceptable risk. If there were pathogens present, it could damage the industry and the opportunities and export dollars it brings into the country.”

More information on biosecurity in New Zealand can be found here.

image credit: Geithe

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