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Frontline Programme Launch - Jim Anderton

Jim Anderton Speech notes
Business Partners Support Customs Frontline
11am
10 May 2001
Frontline Programme Launch
Centra Hotel
Auckland Airport

It gives me great pleasure to officially launch the FrontLine partnership programme here this morning.

This programme is a good example of the new way of doing things embraced by this Labour Alliance Coalition Government.

Eighteen months ago it was obvious that we needed to develop a different approach to the work of government.

Past Governments have tried dictating to industry and business what to do and the most recent approach was for Government not to be involved in the economy at all.

Both extremes have failed.

This Labour Alliance Coalition Government is committed to restoring balance and working in partnership.

We need to make sure our economy and our government agencies work well and work together.

Our country is in no position to think 'she'll be right' and have hands-off government. This has only resulted in New Zealand lagging behind countries to which we like to compare ourselves.

This Government has set a number of social and economic goals. One of the most important from my point of view is the goal of growing an inclusive, innovative economy for the benefit of all New Zealanders.

We are committed to working in partnership with businesses, groups individuals, communities and organisations to make New Zealand the best country it can possibly be.

In my work on economic, industry and regional development we have been able to make great progress by working with people and organisations who are committed to creating jobs and building our economy.

What continues to impress me is that New Zealanders know the answers and have the ideas to solve our own problems and take us forward.

What this Government is doing is introducing and giving leadership to programmes and processes which capture the talent of our people and set common directions and approaches.

One of the areas I am now seeing this applied to is New Zealand Customs.

Border control is an important and vital issue.

We need to stop the smuggling of drugs and contraband as well as preventing other illegal material arriving in our country, particularly internet pornography. A parliamentary select committee is working on legislation on this area as we speak.

The harm, damage, and the cost to New Zealanders from dangerous drugs such as heroin is too high and I for one want to make sure we do everything we can to stop it arriving.

Customs is an important link in the chain of defence against the establishment of a significant market in hard drugs in this country.

Many responsible businesses routinely already informally provide information to Customs.

Our businesses earn New Zealand's future by providing jobs and earning foreign exchange. Government owes it to business to make sure that compliance costs are as low as possible while guaranteeing organisations pay their fair share and meet their social obligations.

Today I have the honour of launching the Frontline programme which enrols business in a partnership to combat smuggling and other illegal import and export activities, and helps them reduce their costs.

This initiative meets the objectives of both government and business.

I’m pleased to see the Maconaghies from New Zealand Yachts in Whangarei as one of the foundation partners of Frontline. They are a good illustration of how this programme will work.

Mega yacht builders need to import a lot of components, most often not manufactured in New Zealand. They, in turn, are then re-exported as part of the yacht. Previously, they had to pay duty and GST on those components, and then claim it back when the finished craft was exported. Now, after working through this issue with Customs, they can simply register those components with Customs, and so avoid having money tied up for months.

They can also be given information on things to watch for to prevent third parties using their imports for smuggling.

The trade is still controlled, and the objectives that the Government has set for Customs are still met, but in a way that’s easier for everyone.

Each company that gets involved will have their customs needs tailored to best suit their business.

I am pleased to launch Frontline and I call on businesses to work with Customs to stop drug smuggling and other illegal activities.

Customs is doing an excellent job stopping drugs and other contraband being smuggled into New Zealand, but local companies can help by keeping their eyes open and taking precautions to prevent their imports and exports trade being used as a cover for illegal activity.

As well as NZ Yachts we have two other businesses signing partnership agreements with NZ Customs. They are TNT Express Worldwide (NZ) Ltd, and the Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Federation (CBAFF).

I look forward to other partner businesses being signed on in the coming months.

Customs was one of the first government departments to start seriously using technology to make life easier for its customers.

Now, 97 per cent of import transactions and 60 per cent of export transactions are lodged electronically, while around $6 billion in revenue is collected through its information technology systems.

Import clearances, which once took days, can now be processed in minutes.

Frontline builds on successes and also the priority the government gives to supporting our industries in order to make New Zealand's economy stronger.

I see Frontline as a win-win outcome, and that’s what partnership is all about.

I’d like to acknowledge the three Foundation partners in this scheme; the Custom Brokers and Freight Forwarders Federation, represented by Brian Sadgrove; New Zealand Yachts represented by Dennis Maconaghie and TNT represented by Ruud Smeets.

I now want to welcome these new partners and join them in signing certificates acknowledging the FrontLine relationship.

Ends

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