Record summer arrivals keeping Customs busy

  • Rick Barker

The Customs Service is currently processing record numbers of people arriving in New Zealand by air and sea for the summer, Customs Minister Rick Barker said.

Since early October, 572,223 passengers have been processed by Customs through Auckland International Airport, not including those arriving this week for Christmas or traditionally the busiest day of the year – Boxing Day – when up to 70,000 arrive.

By the end of this month Customs expects arrivals will well exceed the 633,200 processed during October to December last year

“I’d like to congratulate Customs for managing these huge numbers of arrivals with the minimum of delays and remind people to be patient because the Customs and MAF Quarantine Service checks are essential to protect New Zealand,” Mr Barker said.

Customs’ latest figures also show a strong increase in the number of small craft arrivals this year, with numbers well up on the 407 vessels processed during October to December last year.

In the same three months this year, small craft arrivals have already hit 518, with still a week to go before the end of the month.

“This can be partly attributed to overseas interest in the America’s Cup. During the previous competition in 1999, over 600 vessels arrived between October and December and it seems like that number will be surpassed this time,” Mr Barker said

Also this summer, more than 3000 cruise ship passengers have already set foot in New Zealand and that number is expected to surge during January/February.

ENDS NB: Figures quoted are from NZ Customs Service raw data. Statistics NZ publishes official visitor arrival figures.