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Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Fruit not Drugs?

Today I returned from a trip to Sydney. As I exited customs and headed for my taxi I kept feeling like I had missed something, some step in security - maybe I had taken a wrong turn?

You see when I flew to Australia I had to fill in a card answering a number of questions about what I was bringing into the country. You know the ones, you just mindlessly fill them in and get on with your trip. This time though the questions around drugs were particularly prominent for me as I had brought with me some prescription pain killers for my neck (hurt it blowdrying my hair recently - long story) and I realised I had to declare them which was a bit of a pain as I ended up getting separated from my colleagues.

On the way home I wondered if I should just not declare them so as to not risk the separation thing again but resolved to do the right thing. Imagine my surprise on filling in the NZ entry card, as I ticked each box and came to the end having answered questions about mud and wood items and fruit only to find that there was no question about drugs at all!

Surely they must ask me in person as I go through customs... I listened intently for my opportunity to confess to the drugs in my handbag, "No, I don't have any fruit in my hand bag, just some eclipse mints and a biscuit I didn't eat on the plane." I was waived on and the next thing I knew I was outside heading for my taxi.

The Aussies want to know about your criminal convictions and the drugs you might be carrying, the US wants to know both of the above and your Nazi party affiliations but all NZ cares about is whether you are carrying any fruit!


  1. Ha, thats spectacular. I guess we are more worried about our fruit getting diseases than our people

  2. Given that drugs are imported deliberately and biohazards are accidental, it makes perfect sense. The drug smugglers aren't going to tell customs what they're carrying, fruit smugglers will.

  3. Well that of course is true for drug smugglers barring the ones who get a last minute pang of guilt I suppose but what about people like me who want to declare their prescription drugs?

    Also there is the message that asking the question sends and the ability to easily deport someone who is later caught with drugs for falsely declaring they had no drugs on their entry form.

    I just thought it was odd at the time and it created an impression of NZ that I suspect is unfortunately fairly accurate - our priorites are somewhat out of whack.


  4. Surely they must ask me in person as I go through customs...

    I don't get it. Why on earth should customs be interested in your prescription medicines, anyway?

    I listened intently for my opportunity to confess to the drugs in my handbag

    Don't wait for opportunities. Create them. - Garfield

  5. Different countries have different regulations on prescription drugs - especially ones that can be turned into narcotics. As such you are supposed to declare all drugs when you enter a country, prescription or otherwise.


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