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Customs To Establish Presence In Gisborne

Media Statement


The New Zealand Customs Service is to employ a part time officer in Gisborne, Customs Minister Rick Barker announced today.

For a number of years ships arriving and departing at the Port of Gisborne have been cleared by Customs staff based in Napier, who have visited Gisborne regularly.

“Customs is constantly reviewing how best to protect New Zealand’s coastal borders, and the Customs Service management has now decided there is a need to have someone on the ground in Gisborne.

In the past 12 months 31 ships arriving from overseas made their first call at Gisborne while a total of 94 international ships visited the port.

“Customs has a good reputation for finding the most efficient and effective way of meeting community expectations without wasting taxpayers dollars.”

"Regional economies like the East Coast have grown strongly. The Customs
Service is supporting the region by putting in resources to facilitate that
growth in trade."

“The decision to create a new position in Gisborne is recognition that the Port of Gisborne will continue to be an important economic player. It is also a recognition that Customs needs to be in close touch with the communities it protects.”

As part of keeping in touch with regional communities, the Customs Patrol Vessel Hawk is visiting Gisborne and Napier this week.

It will be in Gisborne today and in Napier on Sunday. In Napier, Rick Barker and a small group of local community leaders will be joining the Hawk for a short patrol in Hawke Bay.

Napier Customs Operations Manager Cyril Wilson says the Gisborne position will be part time.

“This will mean that every vessel that arrives at the port will receive attention from Customs, which will result in tighter controls of our border responsibilities.

“In addition to clearing ships and cargo arriving in the Port, the officer will have a very important role of building relationships and gathering information from the Poverty Bay and East Coast community.”

“For Customs to be able to successfully identify and respond to risks, we need as much information as possible.

“Our Coastwatch programme encourages those living and working around the coast to provide us with information, and having someone in Gisborne will help strengthen the programme in the region.”

Cyril Wilson says ideally he’ll be looking for someone with a background in law enforcement or Government work to fill the position.

The Hawk is visiting the region as part of a deployment around the lower North Island and Marlborough Sounds.

“The Hawk is an important part of Customs ability to respond to suspicious activity, and visits ports regularly to keep in touch.

Customs has also just set up a new Risk Response Group, of 28 officers nationwide, who will be available at a moment’s notice to check out ships, aircraft or small vessels identified as high risk.

All information provided to Customs is assessed and if a response is required the Risk Response Group will be available.

Information can be provided direct to Customs in Napier or over the Coastwatch freephone number 0800 652 279.


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