When I started, importing plants was reasonable and cheap. Expecting things to change I imported many plants and lots of seed, especially from Asian countries. I also collected by travelling to China, Korea, Japan and especially Vietnam.
The Biosecurity Amendment Act of 2003 completely changed that. Importing a new species now required a $65,000 risk assessment! Slight changes since have meant that in the last 20 years about 5 new plants have come into NZ. Fines are horrendous so don’t try to smuggle! Our job is to locate earlier imports and grow these so we have ‘new’ plants.