Tonga and NZ sign agreement on quarantine certification of foods

Passengers taking foods particularly ‘umu and fish on flights from Tonga to New Zealand will be able to get through quarantine faster thanks to a new agreement with Biosecurity New Zealand.

Tonga Ministry of Agriculture signed a Memorandum of Understanding that covers the quarantine certification of food taken into New Zealand.

Head of Biosecurity New Zealand Roger Smith said the agreement meant Tongan passengers would bypass long queues in quarantine when they landed in New Zealand.

He said Tonga posed a low biosecurity risk to New Zealand.

The Ministry’s CEO, Dr. Viliami Manu, said the MOU showed Biosecurity New Zealand trusted Tongan quarantine officers to carry out the certification process.

Smith told Tonga Broadcasting Commission the agreement allowed Tongan officials to check food before it went to New Zealand and certify it as safe.

“Anybody who arrives in Auckland airport carrying a lot of ‘umu packs knows that sometimes the process is quite slow, and this should speed up the process,” he said.

“This should speed up the process.

“Travelers from the Kingdom of Tonga, pose a low risk.

“This signing is in recognition that you have good systems in place here for the passengers.”