Farmers want airlines to screen biosecurity warnings on flights into the country.

Federated Farmers said it may be time for the Government to regulate airlines to broadcast biosecurity videos for all incoming passengers.

Fed Farmers biosecurity spokesperson Karen Williams said the warnings could both prevent a pest being introduced to New Zealand while also saving passengers being fined.

"It seems like a no brainer to have a biosecurity video on inbound flights maybe half an hour, a quarter of an hour out from landing."

Advertisement

Williams said a recent story of 86-year-old tourist, Sally Hill, being angered at having to pay a fine for undeclared fruit highlighted the vulnerability of the nation's eco system.

The Hawke's Bay-bound Australian holidaymaker was furious to be fined $400 for bringing in three forgotten nectarines, a fruit potentially hosting fruit fly, which could massively impact our horticulture industry.

"I applaud Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) border control staff for finding the nectarines and for the law to have taken a zero-tolerance approach to breaches," Williams said.

It's about time air carriers played ball

"If it didn't, New Zealand would be hammered by viruses and other pests, and the behaviour of visitors, either deliberate or accidental, won't change.

"I am not alone in this - many writers in the comment section on the news story amplified how important biosecurity and our indigenous biodiversity was for New Zealand."

But this visiting Australian didn't have to have this experience, Williams said.

"Imagine if 15 minutes before touching down she had been screened a compulsory to screen biosecurity safety video. That may have just been the memory trigger she needed."

Williams said it appeared airlines did't see New Zealand's environment or primary industries as worth protecting.

"[It's] mind boggling really when considering the only reason these airline companies have business is because either people are trading goods, or they are visiting our shores as tourists.

"It's about time air carriers played ball. It would be nice if they voluntarily did it, but I do implore politicians to start looking at regulating for a compulsory message to be played to our nation's guests. This will protect what is important about New Zealand.

Williams said Fed Farmers was keen to find a solution with co-operation from all the parties involved.

"We just want to work as proactively as we can with airlines, with Government, to protect our industry but also to protect our biodiversity which a lot of farmers are very busy on their farms doing that."

Air New Zealand has been approached for comment.