Freight company and manager fined $28,000 for delivering containers to unapproved location

A freight company and manager have been fined for delivering imported sea containers to a paddock in Auckland, skipping biosecurity inspections.

The Ministry for Primary Industries found that Auslink failed to do biosecurity checks on 15 containers and between December 2021 and April 2022, it sent 13 of them to a farm in Karaka to be unpacked, while two containers were unpacked elsewhere.

All contained heavy industrial equipment such as electrical cabling and drums.

Auslink and logistics manager Christopher James Manning were sentenced on eight charges each under the Biosecurity Act, in the Manukau District Court on Tuesday.

Auslink was fined $16,250 and Manning was fined $12,000.

MPI director of investigations Gary Orr said Auslink had been contracted to complete biosecurity checks at an MPI approved facility for 15 sea containers.

“None of the required biosecurity checks were done in full. In the end, 13 of the 15 sea containers were sent to what we’d describe as a grass paddock at a farm that would never be approved as a transitional facility,” he said.

“Placing sea containers that have not had complete biosecurity checks on to grass risks the potential for exotic pests that might be present in or on the container to get into New Zealand soil or vegetation.”

Under the Biosecurity Act all sea containers arriving in New Zealand must be sent from the port of first arrival to a MPI approved facility for inspection and unpacking.

“While we subsequently confirmed that no exotic pests were found in or on the 15 containers, the defendants took an unacceptable risk with New Zealand’s biosecurity,” Orr said.

Orr said placing the containers on grass risked exposing New Zealand to exotic pests, although none were found in or on the containers.

“When imported sea containers are sent to and unpacked at unapproved locations, they leave the country vulnerable to pests or unwanted organisms that could have a devastating effect on the environment and people’s livelihoods,” he said.

“The rules are there for a reason – to protect our borders from unwanted biosecurity threats.”

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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