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Customs Will Benefit From New Navy Boats

The Minister of Customs, Jim Anderton, says the new look-navy fleet which will have an additional multi-role vessel, at least two offshore patrol vessels, and four or five inshore patrol vessels will allow Customs to do an even better job protecting our borders.

“This announcement of up to $500 million for these vessels which will be used by other Government services, heralds a new era of multi-agency co-operation,” said Jim Anderton.

“Today’s announcement, which appropriately falls in the same week as International Customs Day (25 January), is the Government’s response to the Maritime Patrol Review.

“Customs is one of a number of agencies that have struggled to meet their responsibilities to protect New Zealand from sea-borne risks from within limited resources.”

“This Government is taking the sensible approach of having agencies work more closely together to maximise the use of valuable assets such as boats.”

The inshore and offshore patrol boats will be operated by the Navy and provide a platform for Customs and other agencies to carry out their work in the maritime area.

“It makes good sense to have military and civilian agencies work more closely together as they go about the vital task of protecting our community from a range of risks.

“For example the crew of Customs Patrol Boat Hawk already work closely with the Department of Conservation, MAF Quarantine and other agencies. It makes sense for them to be on the alert for all kinds of risks, rather than focussing on one area.

“The risks can include the attempted smuggling of drugs, people or contraband goods into New Zealand; treasures or taonga such as endangered species being smuggled out; exploitation of our fisheries resources; pollution of our coastal waters; and many more.”

“New Zealand has 11,000 kilometres of coastline, and while it is difficult for smugglers and other criminals to reach this country by sea, we know it is not impossible. “

For example:
 French agents involved in the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior in 1985 brought equipment into New Zealand by yacht.
 Cocaine destined for Australia was trans-shipped between yachts, from the Bora Bora II to the Ngaire Wha, in New Zealand waters in January 2000 (the smugglers were arrested on arrival in Australia).

Customs and other agencies are working with Defence on the establishment of the Maritime Co-ordination Centre, which will integrate the work of all agencies.

“Customs welcomes the extra capability that the new patrol boats will provide to intercept suspicious vessels, as well as the valuable information that will come from their surveillance work,” said Jim Anderton.

Ends

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