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Budget 2003 - Boost for off-shore security

Budget 2003 - Boost for off-shore security, counter-terrorism and emergency response

Budget 2003 provides an additional $5.9 million next year and $1.9 million in future years to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade for security, counter-terrorism and emergency response initiatives, Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff announced today.

“The September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Centre and the October 12, 2002 Bali bombing reflect a less predictable international environment where security issues and the threat of terrorism are more prominent," Mr Goff said.

"A large part of the funding ($3.5 million) will be used to carry out a comprehensive security assessment of the government’s off-shore posts and improve the safety of government agency personnel. This is important because terrorist activity abroad often targets the embassies and residences of Western diplomats. "A one-off allocation of $2 million is also made for a new Pacific Security Fund. This will fund activities to address external threats to Pacific Island countries and risks to New Zealand’s interests in the region.

"Distributions from the Pacific Security Fund will be made to areas such as aviation security, Customs, immigration, and capacity building (eg, forensic equipment to identify fraudulent travel documents and visas).

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade will also have strengthened capacity to co-ordinate New Zealand’s position internationally on counter-terrorism and security issues.

"Consular services and management will be strengthened through development of an integrated IT system, which will enable on-line registration of New Zealanders overseas. This is necessary to enable the Ministry to better protect New Zealanders and to respond to their needs, particularly during crises such as those caused by the terrorist attacks on New York and in Bali.

"The IT system will improve the case management of New Zealanders in difficulty overseas by allowing Foreign Affairs staff in Wellington and overseas to rapidly access information and to monitor resources going into consular activities.

"This funding supports a key outcome of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Statement of Intent, to reduce risks to New Zealand from global and regional insecurity," Mr Goff said.

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