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Border Management Workshop - Mallard Speech

Hon Trevor Mallard Speech Notes


Border Management Workshop

Thank you for coming. We are busy people, but the time put into getting a clear and accepted direction for border management is well spent. I hope you leave knowing Government understands your needs.

Government asked officials to develop a vision and strategy for border management and to fully involve stakeholders. I want to share Government¡¦s general approach to border management and some expectations about how the public sector should operate.

Effective and efficient border management is important. I know I am talking to the converted but I want you to be certain that Government is committed to achieving this. We have to be. We can¡¦t afford the social, personal and financial costs of the UK¡¦s foot and mouth epidemic or Sydney¡¦s heroin use. Neither can we impose unnecessary costs on to exporters, importers or travellers. New Zealand¡¦s future relies on trade and tourism. Happily, cargo and passenger volumes have grown 124 percent and 75 percent respectively, over the last 10 years.

We therefore face something of a conundrum. Farmers need low shipping costs and entry to export markets. Legitimate merchants are at risk from the compliance costs of regulation as well as counterfeit goods. However, this gives us an opportunity if we act ¡§smart¡¨. Our shared interests, both in protection from imported risks and in convenient and cheap transport, provide great potential for the border management agencies (Customs, MAF and Immigration) to work together, with other departments, and with stakeholders.

Most of you will have been involved in the 1999 Border Control Review led by Sir Ron Carter. The need for integration and co-ordination at the border was a major conclusion of that Review. Two tools the team identified for achieving integration were ¡§a whole of Government approach¡¨ and ¡§stakeholder engagement¡¨.

Government agrees. We also agree with the BCRT¡¦s recommendation that Government state its ¡§vision for border management - recognising both effectiveness and efficiency values¡¨. Not only will a vision and strategy help achieve ¡§whole of government¡¨ and ¡§stakeholder engagement¡¨ but the development process will itself model them.

I would like to touch on what Government understands by the two concepts and the benefits we see.

I expect the public sector to take a ¡§whole of government¡¨ approach. This means an end to departments focusing solely on their own services and ¡¥patch¡¦. The Government is not only interested in the frontline checks that Customs and MAF undertake, but more in the level of success in excluding imported risks, whoever plays a part.

All border officers need to be vigilant in respect of all risks, regardless of whether a risk is ¡§one of ours¡¨ or ¡§one of theirs¡¨. It also makes sense for border management agencies to share intelligence and resources, where appropriate. Departments do not compete and cannot operate in isolation. The Wildlife Enforcement Group (MAF, Customs and DOC officers focused on preventing wildlife smuggling) show that organisations can co-operate when passionate about a common goal.

Government cannot succeed in isolation from industry and community organisations. That¡¦s where 'stakeholder engagement' comes in. Stakeholders best understand their businesses and sectors. Your knowledge needs to be incorporated into service design and risk management. Your co-operation in managing down risk levels needs to be encouraged.

Following on, we all need to recognise that just as business and ¡§border risks¡¨ are international in nature, so must be our solutions.

A ¡§whole of government¡¨ approach and ¡§stakeholder engagement¡¨ should result in the following improvements to border management:
„h Firstly, better consideration of options for managing risks. Border control isn¡¦t the only option and may not be cost-effective. It may be more effective as part of an integrated programme, involving education, and domestic and overseas controls. Focusing border control where it best contributes should prevent unjustified compliance costs.
„h Secondly, streamlined processes and information requirements, with better controlled compliance costs
„h Stakeholders contributing ideas and solutions, not just commenting on formulated proposals; and finally
„h The Government accessing new ideas and expertise.

Many of you will shortly be involved in defining a new vision for New Zealand¡¦s oceans, and/or developing a comprehensive Biosecurity Strategy. Government is also promoting biosecurity awareness through targeted campaigns, commencing with the publicity about Foot and Mouth. All have border components, however, this is not government gone mad.

There are overlaps - the risk of starfish arriving through ballast is relevant to all. Officers involved are liaising and will share stakeholder feedback and information. However, each initiative has a different focus and warrants a separate process.

The Oceans Policy deals with our aspirations for the marine environment, and putting them into practice. It, and the Biosecurity Strategy, involve making choices between sometimes competing interests. We need to examine the extent to which our desires can all be accomplished, or whether they are mutually exclusive.

These discussions will involve intense debate. Today is not the time. Wait for the consultation rounds on the other initiatives. You will be contacted soon. Today, concentrate on a vision and strategy for border management.

Without pre-empting your discussion, I will outline what Government expects from this vision and strategy - how Government, industry and the public need to behave to achieve excellence in risk management and improved facilitation.

The vision does not need to await the Oceans Policy and Biosecurity Strategy. Border management must provide protection and facilitate trade and travel.

The vision should give us a common understanding of what we seek from border management - for example, the benefits for NZ as a whole. I expect the completed strategy will comprise high level approaches and commitments by which to work towards the vision ¡V for example, continuous improvement.

Excellent progress is being made through joint initiatives. The vision and strategy should provide a context and ensure momentum is sustained.

Today is to share ideas, not to draft. However, the officials responsible for drafting are here and listening.

Border management agencies also need to consult with departments whose policies are effected at the border. A draft vision and strategy can then be circulated for comment. Notwithstanding the number of departments involved, you should receive that draft in a month or so.

Thank you for making time to be here. Government looks forward to the result.

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