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Increased drug smuggling concern

16 October 2001 (amended) Media Statement

Increased drug smuggling concern

“This Government is concerned at increased drug smuggling of amphetamine-type substances into New Zealand, but Customs and other agencies are doing their bit to stop these substances crossing our borders,” said Acting Customs Minister Jim Anderton commenting on the New Zealand Customs Service Annual Report which was tabled today in Parliament.

Customs has had a number of successes including:
- In one operation 700 grams of heroin was seized with help from NZ Customs from a passenger who was about to travel from Thailand to New Zealand.
- In November 2000 14,000 LSD tickets were seized at the Auckland mail centre.
- This year in what Customs describe as “a joint operation with police” the largest seizure of it’s kind netted 25,170 ecstasy tablets in a car gearbox imported from Belgium.

“This level of ongoing seizure is indicative of the increasing demand for amphetamine-type stimulants in New Zealand.

“However New Zealanders can feel confident that the New Zealand Customs Service is protecting their interests.

“The 11 September attack on the United States is obviously outside the period covered by the annual report, but the report shows that Customs is always on alert.

“Customs has good systems in place to assess and analyse information and to alert officers to people or goods that may pose a potential risk to New Zealand.

“In the 2000-2001 year Customs processed almost seven million air passengers and crew arriving or departing by air, and the crew and passengers of nearly 3,000 ships.

“The Service collected Crown revenues of $6.697 billion in the last year.

“I am pleased to see NZ Customs has prevented bird and reptile trafficking and ensured 634 vehicles with their odometers wound back were not sold with false readings in New Zealand.

“Customs has also processed over a million import entries and almost half a million export entries.

“All these transactions – a total of almost 8.9 million, were checked against the Customs computer system, which raised alerts on nearly 167,000, indicating they warranted further checks by Customs Officers.

“Customs is well aware that the risks to New Zealand are not just at the airports, and has embarked on a project to improve its management of the risk around craft, crew and passengers arriving and departing New Zealand by sea.

“Customs is leading the way in using electronic systems to improve the efficiency of its transactions. Ninety per cent of import entries are now lodged electronically, and 98 per cent of those were cleared within 30 minutes,” Jim Anderton said.


Customs website http://www.customs.govt.nz/

ENDS

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