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Border Security Benefits All New Zealanders

Border Security Benefits All New Zealanders

The Government should use a portion of its excessive tax take to fund the local costs of beefed up border security rules, rather than force importers and exporters to pay for something that will benefit all of New Zealand, says Tom Lambie, President of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc).

Mr Lambie appeared in front of the Government Administration Committee Hearing to submit on Goods Cost Recovery for the Border Security Bill. The Minister of Customs announced last year that as of 1 July 2004 a border security fee would be imposed to recover $20 million per annum for the operating costs of X-ray machines and additional Customs staff. The proposed security fee is to fund a "solution" that Customs has decided on without consultation with industry.

Mr Lambie was part of a group representing 15 major primary industry organisations. They were given a grossly inadequate half hour time slot to submit to the Select Committee.

“This sends the wrong message to the sectors about Government good faith in terms of consultation with stakeholders.

"The security measures being implemented are in the public good and therefore Federated Farmers strongly opposes the imposition of a border security fee. Any benefits from maintaining New Zealand's reputation as a safe and secure country will flow through the entire New Zealand economy.

"Like the police or armed forces, border security is a clear 'public good' -- all New Zealanders share the benefits of measures which help prevent terrorism. The so-called border security fee is just another tax dressed up by the government as a ‘charge’ for its services.

“The $20 million needs to be seen in the context of the government's vast surplus of $4 billion in the first five months of the fiscal year. It is only fair that the cost of beefed up security comes from that deep cash pool,” Mr Lambie concluded.

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