Snakes don't belong in New Zealand

7 September 2011

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is welcoming the successful prosecution of a Feilding man for acquiring a snake.

New Zealand has no native snakes and snakes are a prohibited organism under New Zealand law, specifically the Biosecurity Act 1993 and the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996.

Nathan Bush, 38, pleaded guilty to acquiring a snake in the Palmerston North District Court. He was sentenced to four months imprisonment.

In sentencing Bush, Judge Callander stressed that New Zealand has a snake-free environment and it is important to keep snakes out.

He intended the sentence to denounce Bush's behaviour and also act as a deterrent.

The case, which concluded on Tuesday (September 6) followed MAF's seizure of a live snake from a property in Feilding in March 2011.

The snake was identified as a jungle carpet python - which is a subtropical species. It was less than one year old. The snake was euthanased after initial identification.

MAF believes the snake was illegally imported from Australia and is continuing investigations.

By law anyone who becomes aware of a snake in New Zealand is required to notify MAF. They can use the biosecurity phoneline: 0800 80 99 66.

MAF has a team of qualified snake handlers.

Media contact:
Jackie Bedford, ph (04) 894 0471 or call the MAF Media phoneline: 029 894 0328. Email: Jackie.bedford@maf.govt.nz