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Barker Speech: Medals Presented to Customs Staff

East Timor medals presented to Customs Service staff

I am delighted to be here today to honour those who served the international community and the people of East Timor.

One of my first tasks as Minister of Customs was to present the New Zealand Operational Service Medal to the Customs officers who were deployed to East Timor between January 2000 and December 2001.

Today I am equally pleased to present the Operational Service Medal and the East Timor Medal to three people who provided valuable support and assistance to those on deployment and to the new Government of East Timor.

The East Timor medal has been approved by Queen Elizabeth II and recognises the contribution made by New Zealanders, both civilian and military, to the rebuilding of East Timor.

The Operational Service Medal was instituted this year, to be awarded to New Zealand personnel who have served in operations since 3 September 1945.

The presentation today reinforces the esteem with which your contribution is regarded.

Today's medal recipients are Paul Campbell, Carl Hagedorn and Val Redshaw.

Paul Campbell was the Project Co-ordinator of the New Zealand Customs contribution to East Timor, and made a number of visits to inspect the deployments. He was also instrumental in assisting the United Nations and the East Timor Border Service develop a strategic plan which provided the framework for establishing the new border service.

Carl Hagedorn visited East Timor in June 2001 to assist the United Nations manage the evaluation process of a suitable computer system for the East Timor Border Service. The process required a study of existing systems and procedures within the East Timor Border Service.

Val Redshaw undertook a training needs analysis of the East Timor Border Service during August 2001. The results of her study provided the New Zealand Customs Service, NZAID and the United Nations with direction on where best to place resources both in the short and longer term.

Thanks to the support provided by the New Zealand Customs Service, the East Timor Border Service remains the most advanced of all the government departments in the new Administration.

I am told the New Zealand Customs Service officers made a big impact in East Timor, with their practical, helpful approach winning them many friends.

I can say confidently that New Zealand is meeting our Customs commitments to the international community.

As this is the last time I am likely to be with Customs staff before Christmas, can I take this opportunity to thank you on behalf of the Government for your hard work this year and wish you all the best for the holidays.

I know the summer is actually the busiest time of the year for many Customs Operational staff, and I know many of you in the "back office" are busy responding to new international security requirements. Nevertheless I hope you are all able to find some time to celebrate Christmas with your family and friends.

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