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Former Fijian fined for smuggling plant

January 19, 2018 5:08 am

An air passenger has been fined over two thousand two hundred New Zealand dollars for following his cousin’s advice to smuggle plant cuttings and seeds into New Zealand.

Fiji born, New Zealand resident Deo Rajan Gounder, appeared in the Manukau District Court on Wednesday after pleading guilty of trying to bring four plants and 11 seeds into Auckland Airport in July last year.

MPI biosecurity officers found the plant material at the bottom of a chilly bin containing food.

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Two of the cuttings were Neem plants. The others were unidentified.

MPI Passenger Manager says the defendant told them he knew what he was doing was illegal.

He said his cousin put the plants in the bin and told him to just try to get them in.

The Passenger Manager says it was a reckless action that deserved a hefty fine as in the past they have detected pests such as crazy ants, nematodes, taro mite and scale insects on plants from Fiji.

All plants legally imported into New Zealand must at least spend three months in quarantine and be treated with insecticide.

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