Customs has done an outstanding job clearing a record number of passengers this summer season while continuing to protect the border with numerous seizures and arrests, Customs Minister Nicky Wagner says.

“Passenger volumes peaked as expected, with more than 3.68 million travellers passing through international airports in December, January and February — an 8.7 per cent increase on last summer. It was a big season for cruise ships too, with a record 139 visiting vessels carrying almost 312,000 passengers and crew,” Ms Wagner says.

Over 9.5 million mail items and 2.1 million airfreight consignments came into the country, and almost 260,000 sea containers were imported and exported.

“Customs has two important jobs — assisting travel and trade by quickly clearing legitimate passengers and cargo, and protecting New Zealand and New Zealanders by identifying criminals,” Ms Wagner says.

“Customs has been doing a superb job protecting our border for 177 years. It uses advanced technology and risk-profiling to screen passengers, vessels and cargo.” 

From December 1 to February 28, Customs recorded close to 800 drug-related interceptions, including 44kg of methamphetamine, 121kg of its precursor ephedrine, and 19kg of ecstasy. An estimated 160 litres of t-boc methamphetamine was also recently seized.

Customs officers made 15 arrests over the summer, including six drug couriers and three passengers in possession of offensive material.

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