A New Zealand agricultural machinery dealer and farmer was recently issued a $400 fine at Christchurch airport, plus ordered to pay court costs and an additional $500 to the Ministry for Primary Industries, for not declaring dirty boots.

Footwear can be a vector for pests, diseases and weeds into and within a country. When entering either Australia or New Zealand, passengers are required to fill in a passenger arrival card and detail the countries they’ve visited and whether they’ve been on farms or areas where pests can be picked up. Passengers are also required to declare any items that could carry pests or diseases.

“This case is a good reminder of the need to be vigilant with footwear and clothing when returning from overseas travels when COVID restrictions allow,” said Inca Lee, Vinehealth Australia CEO.

“And if you work in agriculture, there’s an expectation that you are aware of the biosecurity risk that your footwear can pose, whether moving between countries or between states, and that you comply with all movement requirements.

“This includes cleaning and sterilising your footwear of all plant material and soil before you leave a location for travel, and voluntarily disclosing your footwear to biosecurity staff at airports.”