Fresh from her Oscar victory, the Million Dollar Baby is taking on New Zealand authorities

By Todd Peterson
Updated March 14, 2005 08:30 AM

Hilary Swank is coming out swinging against New Zealand authorities, who slapped the Oscar-winning actress with a $150 fine for bringing fruit into the country, the Associated Press reports.

According to a report in The Sunday Star-Times newspaper, Swank was fined in January when customs officials at Auckland International Airport discovered an apple and an orange in her purse that the actress had not declared. In order to keep out pests, New Zealand has strict guidelines about what can be brought into the country.

Swank has reportedly told her lawyers to appear in court to contest the fine, AP reports, but a publicist for the two-time Academy Award winner shrugged the whole thing off, calling it “the apple in the purse incident,” and refusing to discuss it further.

Visitors who violate the ban usually receive an automatic fine, though hundreds contest them, a Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry spokesman said. “It’s a pretty standard practice to issue an instant fine for a biosecurity risk,” the spokesman said.

New Zealand’s ban on items such as fruit has kept the country free from the pests and insects that plague other parts of the world.