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NZ Customs Manager To Head Fiji Customs

New Zealand Customs Goods Policy Manager Mike Spong has been appointed to the prestigious position of Director-General of the Fiji Islands Customs Service.

Comptroller of Customs Robin Dare says naturally the Service is very sorry to see Mike go, but this is an excellent opportunity and his skills and expertise will be invaluable in Fiji. “Mike has made a significant contribution to customs issues in New Zealand and internationally and his credentials for his new role are impeccable.”

“Mike has had a distinguished career during his 42 years with the Customs Service. He has held many senior positions including Director of the Trade Division, Deputy Collector of Customs at Auckland, Director of Trade and Business Facilitation and Manager of Policy Management. He also has extensive experience in the international arena,” says Robin Dare.

From 1969-73 Mike was in London with the New Zealand High Commission and from 1990-95 he was based in Brussels where he serviced the New Zealand interest at the World Customs Organisation. For five years he represented New Zealand at annual sessions of the Vienna based UN Committee on Narcotic Drugs and in 1995 he chaired the APEC Sub-Committee on Customs Committee on Procedures (SCCP). He also contributed to the customs input during the establishment of the South Pacific Regional Trade and Economic Agreement (SPARTECA) and the Australia New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (ANZCERTA).

“42 years is a long time so it is with a sense of sadness that I’m leaving. When I started out at the old Customhouse in Auckland, it was very different organisation from today. Customs has essentially gone from being a department of state to a business unit. Computers were unheard of and everything was on paper,” says Mr Spong.

“In Fiji I will be continuing with the modernisation and computerisation of their Customs operations. I’m also keen to draw on the training expertise of the New Zealand Customs staff so although I am leaving, I will certainly be maintaining close links with New Zealand.”

Mike retires from the New Zealand Customs Service on 3rd May 2000. His new position will take effect from 5th June 2000 and is based in Suva. The Fiji Customs Service has a staff of 300 and is integrated with the Inland Revenue Service under an independent Revenue Board.

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