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Customs supports regional exporters

18 October 2001 Media Statement

Customs supports regional exporters

“Businesses in Tauranga and regions all over New Zealand are to get more help with importing and exporting thanks to the Customs Service’s new FrontLine programme,” Acting Customs Minister Jim Anderton said today.

FrontLine was launched earlier this year by Jim Anderton and creates partnerships between Customs and individual businesses to:
- Detect prohibited goods and illegal activity
- Facilitate the movement of legitimate goods
- Promote community development through International trade

“It means getting Customs Officers out from behind the desks into the workshops and warehouses of New Zealand businesses,” Jim Anderton said.

Customs is now in the process of appointing FrontLine officers, either full time or part time, throughout the country – from Whangarei to Tairawhiti to Otago, and all the staff will be in place by next month.

Jim Anderton announced the appointment of one of Customs most experienced Tauranga staff members, Steve Wineti, as the FrontLine Officer in the Bay of Plenty region at the Export Institute AGM.

Steve Wineti has worked for Customs for 16 years, the last five in Tauranga.

Customs has also appointed two mobile FrontLine officers to cover the greater Waikato region. Donna Williams and Wayne Tapsell are equipped with mobile phones and laptops and will be available to assist businesses from Huntly to Taumarunui.

“Customs recognises that to keep trade flowing while still identifying and managing risks, it needs to be involved with businesses long before goods reach the port or airport, “ Jim Anderton said.

“The benefits to developing export businesses can be seen in the partnership agreements signed with boatbuilders in Whangarei and Marlborough.

“Just last week, Customs signed a FrontLine partnership agreement with a Blenheim boat builder, Tim Barnett which means when his Blenheim-based company, Barnett Offshore Design, builds boats for export, it can import componentry without paying customs charges, pending the export of the end product.

Previously, a company like his would have to pay charges potentially amounting to thousands of dollars, then claim the money back later when the boat is exported.

At the signing, Tim Barnett said he had lost some big contracts because of the large cost involved with duty and GST that would have had to be passed on to the customer.

He said his company couldn’t carry the cost itself because, in some cases, we would not get paid for the job until 18 months later. He said it effectively gave the Government a $250,000 interest-free loan.

FrontLine officers will be able to advise businesses on whether this or some other specific arrangements may be available for their business.

The other very important aspect of FrontLine is involving businesses – especially those in the freight and shipping area – in helping Customs identify suspicious shipments or activities.

“We need as many eyes and ears as possible assisting in protecting NZ from illicit drugs, and other activities such as people smuggling and terrorism,” said Jim Anderton.

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

ENDS

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