Customs Minister Sends 4WD To East Timor
New Zealand Customs Officers and their Timorese colleagues in Dili, will benefit enormously from the use of a late model four-wheel drive vehicle which was forfeit to the Crown and would normally be destroyed, Customs Minister Hon Phillida Bunkle, said today.
“There is an urgent and overwhelming need for resources such as this in East Timor. The 1998 Toyota Land Cruiser, was which had been earmarked for disposal as spare parts, will provide local Timorese border control services with important logistical support,” she said.
“This will further extend their capabilities while carrying out routine Customs patrols and Immigration functions at both Comoro airport and the Port in Dili.”
“The provision and transportation of this vehicle is an excellent example of New Zealand agencies co-operating to the fullest extent possible for the benefit of the UNTAET administration and newly independent East Timorese,” said Ms Bunkle.
“Since their arrival in Dili almost a month ago, the five New Zealand Customs Officers have been fully occupied in establishing a Border Control Service, as well as training local East Timorese staff in Customs administration, immigration, and related border control activities,” she said.
“The Customs Officers have been deployed to East Timor as part of New Zealand’s Official Development Assistance programme following a request from UNTAET to provide Customs expertise in the establishment of a border control service in the region.”
“The Land Cruiser is being transported to Dili by the Royal New Zealand Air Force. It is expected to arrive in East Timor before the end of next week. I am thrilled that this can be given to such a good cause,” Ms Bunkle said.