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MAF back-tracks on inland port controls

Import News from the Importers Institute of New Zealand 28 June 2004

MAF back-tracks on inland port controls

MAF announced that from 1 July, containers could no longer be moved to an inland port without their prior 'clearance'. This decision has now been reversed.

MAF require a hard-copy of a declaration signed by the overseas exporter before they will issue a clearance for low-risk containers. We pointed out to officials that this requirement would seriously affect the system when ship loads are railed to an inland port, for example Tauranga to Auckland.

At first, the officials were adamant. They said that "containers are transported on rail and road through farmland, exotic forests, indigenous forests and horticultural areas on their way to inland terminals" and the exporter's declaration is part of "the biosecurity risk mitigation process that must be carried out before the sea container leaves the port of arrival."

Well, it is no longer. The Port of Tauranga will now be allowed to rail their containers to Auckland without an exporter's declaration. We congratulate the port in persuading officials to change their ill-considered plans.

The Importers Institute will continue to point out to MAF the inefficiencies and cost increases created by their new paper-based controls. This government received independent advice to merge border protection agencies. It rejected that advice, at the behest of the Greens. We will be asking the next government to revisit this issue, as a matter of priority.

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