St John prepared for mass arrival

Nicki Russell |
St John Operations team members discuss the arrival of potential illegal immigrants

St John Operations team members discuss the arrival of potential illegal immigrants

St John was involved in a major exercise in Auckland on Tuesday aimed at demonstrating New Zealand’s preparedness for dealing with a mass arrival of asylum seekers by boat.

Exercise Barrier started at the beginning of May and is taking place over eight weeks, running until the end of this month. It includes several planning exercises as well as the simulated mass arrival.

St John Northern Regional Operations Manager, Murray Holt, says St John involvement in the exercise was funded by the Ministry of Health and involved around 50 Operations staff.

“It was a valuable process for testing and improving our systems.  It was also a good opportunity to get the various agencies working together to process potential illegal immigrants through health, customs and immigration checks.

The possibility of New Zealand being targeted by potential illegal immigrants arriving by sea is very real.

A freighter with 500 asylum seekers from Asia made it to Canada two years ago, so authorities are not discounting the possibility that this could happen here.

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