Minister celebrates anniversary of Drug Dog Unit

  • David Carter
Associate Minister for Food, Fibre, Biosecurity and Border Control

Twenty five years of drug dogs working as a high profile part of the Custom's operation will be celebrated this weekend in Auckland, with a gathering of former and present drug dog handlers.

"The introduction of drug dogs in 1973 was one of the best decisions the Government could have made to halt the flood of drugs into this country. New Zealanders can be proud of the success of these dogs and their handlers who collectively have worked hard to protect our borders," says Hon David Carter, Associate Minister for Food, Fibre, Biosecurity and Border Control.

Mr Carter, who will be attending the celebrations tomorrow, says Custom's current 12 drug dogs are used in a diversity of operations, including the inspection of overseas mail, air and sea passengers, as well as assisting police on the execution of special warrants.

"These dogs definitely earn their keep. One dog individually netted 125 "hits" in Auckland last year alone. They are extremely successful and have definitely improved our detection rate for drugs and other illegal substances," says Mr Carter. "Because of the relative isolation of New Zealand and our clean, green image, we're an attractive target for drug traffickers looking for a transit country.

The use of drug dogs has been integral in intercepting drugs, and I imagine in the future, even with the advent of new technology they'll still be an important part of Custom's arsenal." Of the current 12 dogs in operation, nine are based in Auckland, two in Wellington and one in Christchurch.