Customs dogs have sniffed out almost $10 million of undeclared and concealed cash at the border in the past three years.

Customs Minister Nicky Wagner said the dogs and their handlers were helping protect New Zealand from money laundering and the movements of large sums of cash which could be linked to illegal activities.

"While it's not illegal to carry large sums of cash, passengers need to declare amounts over $10,000 so Customs can confirm that the money is legitimate," she said.

"Detector dogs ensure that people comply with the rules around large sums of cash and sends a clear signal to criminals that Customs can and will stop illegal cash movements at the border."


In 2015, Customs dogs found more than $3.7 million in cash. This year so far they have detected more than $1.5 million. In most cases, passengers filled in a border cash report and kept their money.

The 2016 Budget allocated more than $500,000 in funding for five more dogs, bringing the total number of detector dogs to 18.

"This will be a big boost to Customs' detection capabilities and help provide greater coverage, more assurance, and an extra layer of enforcement at the border," Ms Wagner said.