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Govt. Refuses Compensation / 2 Conferences

Import News from the Importers Institute of New Zealand

9 August 2004

Government Refuses Compensation / Two Conferences Coming Up

A Select Committee of Parliament recommended that a Southland farmer be compensated for costs incurred in the correct classification of a tractor. The Government has now refused to comply.

The 13-year saga was described in Import News of 7 July: http://www.importers.org.nz/?article=163

To recap, it all started in 1991, when Wallace Drummond imported a Mercedes-Benz Unimog. Customs called it a truck, the importer called it a tractor. The dispute went to Mike Bungay, who was then the tariff classification arbitrator. Bungay agreed with Customs and Drummond appealed to the High Court.

On the steps of the High Court, Customs withdrew the case, refunded $3,615 duty that it had collected from Mr Drummond, paid him costs of $500 and offered to pay him a further $50,000, subject to gagging conditions. That amount was then the highest amount that Ministers could pay out, without having to go to Cabinet for approval. Drummond declined and asked instead for an inquiry into the conduct of the officials.

It was around this time that our alarm bells started to ring. Why would Customs go to such lengths to stop this matter from going to Court and then offer so much hush money? The answer became clear later. A low-level Customs official had doctored some crucial evidence. His managers tried to cover that up.

Jim Anderton dismissed these serious allegations as "snafus". The Government will not carry out a proper independent inquiry and has now refused to comply with a recommendation from the Select Committee, chaired by Peter Dunne, to reimburse Mr Drummond for his actual costs.

Drummond was the victim of a grave injustice will not let the matter rest. The Importers Institute supports his call for an independent inquiry to look into his very serious allegations.

* * *

Gateway To China Trade Summit

The Auckland Chamber of Commerce is running the Gateway to China Trade Summit on the 1st of September 2004 at Auckland's Hyatt Hotel. The Chamber has kindly agreed to extend special membership rates to members of the Importers Institute.

Gateway to China will address the critical success factors of importing from China and features a presentation from The Warehouse on why they source from China, what has worked for them, and future directions. There will also be presentations from 10 experts from China and around the world, including former WTO boss Mike Moore, as well as 20 local speakers. Key presentations include:

* Andrew Buxton, General Manager Supply, The Warehouse

* Steve Brand, General Manager North Asia, Bax Global

* Charles Goddard, Asia Bureau Chief, The Economist Intelligence Unit

* Rt Hon Mike Moore, Former Director General, WTO

* Charles Finny, China FTA Taskforce, MFAT

* Jean-Christophe Iseux, Director of China Studies, Oxford University

* Patrick Kwok, General Manager, Fonterra China

* Andrew Grant, Director, McKinsey & Co

* Richard Yan, Managing Director, Richina Pacific

* Luke Minford, Managing Partner, Rouse & Co, Shanghai

* Mr Jiang Shan, Chinese Ministry of Commerce

* Don Johnson, Pan Pac Lumbar Division

* Simon Walker, HSBC

To register, visit The Gateway to China website: www.gatewaytochina.co.nz

* * *

Lincoln University Intermodal Transport Seminars

These one-day seminars take place at:

Wellington - 01 September - James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor Christchurch - 02 September - Rydges Hotel

The registration fee is $135.00 inc GST. For registration information and brochure, please contact:

Jan Latham, Professional Development Group, Lincoln University email: lathamj@lincoln.ac.nz

--

Previous Import News items are published on our website http://www.importers.org.nz.


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