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Feedback on Border Review

Import News from the Importers Institute


31 August 2000 - Feedback on Border Review

We received some interesting comments on the last issue of Import News: http://www.silva.co.nz/Institute/Article.asp?Ref=97

Members are reminded that our Import News pages include a facility for readers to submit their comments for publication and start a discussion forum on any topic. Your feedback is always welcome, especially in cases like this, where it appears we have gone off on a tangent.

Sir - Might it not be a good time to suggest that the border control services themselves be required to produce and defend a process of cooperation that is both effective and less costly than the present system. That is what accountability requires! Merger is not the only pathway to a better system.

Chris Kissling Professor, Transport Studies, Lincoln University kisslinc@tui.lincoln.ac.nz

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I don't agree with your analysis on this issue. Mergers don't always work and if you want a good example look at the former WINZ. Specialist skills and knowledge were lost as staff had to be multiskilled. There was a loss of focus.

What is the response to this? The redevelopment of specialist teams again, but under a new guise this trend will evolve and we will end up almost back to where we were in the beginning.

Rick Barker Labour Party MP

The Editor Replies: Good point, also made by Prof Chris Kissling of Lincoln (see above). We agree with you that a merger is not, per se, a panacea. The review was a non-political, consensus-based, consultative look at this issue. It appears to us that it was dismissed on the grounds of 'green' dogma.

The advice of officials in turf-protection mode is not very significant in my opinion: they have been shooting this idea down ever since Sir Geoffrey Palmer received a similar recommendation from Gerald Hensley a decade or so ago.

It is, of course, possible that there are some very good reasons not to adopt the review's recommendation, but all that we have to go on is a brief press release that mentions a pre-election promise on a topic that ought to be technical and non-political. Thence our disappointment and perception of poor governance. Of course, this perception may well be quite unfair and we remain, as always, open to persuasion.

* * *

I am sure you are no more surprised at this outcome than I am. Pragmatism and common sense have rarely featured in Government because pushing the party line is so much more important !?

However, whilst I fully understand your sentiments about contributing to a "tinkering" process, I do believe that politics being what it is, there may be more benefit working to make improvements on the inside than howling and gnashing teeth on the outside.

John Abbot Vellade Abbott King john.abbott@xtra.co.nz

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