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Govt telling business 'you do our job'

Media Statement For immediate release Wednesday, 19 November, 2003

Copeland: Govt telling business 'you do our job on national security'

New Zealand importers and exporters will be carrying a nation's burden if the Government goes ahead with its plan to have them pay for new measures improving security at our ports, United Future's Gordon Copeland said today.

"This Government seems to be treating them like an ATM," Mr Copeland said, after tackling Finance Minister Michael Cullen on the issue in Parliament.

'This is not just about doing business. This is a national security issue arising from the events of September 11 - and it is treated as such by other governments around the world, who are not throwing it back at their export sectors," United Future's finance spokesman said.

"All New Zealanders benefit from improved security at our ports, not just those who import and export goods," he said.

"The Government should pay for these reforms as part of its core obligation to protect its citizens - and plenty of other governments do just that.

"The Canadian government recently announced $172.5 million in spending on port security, and the Americans have allocated $2.3 billion for border security in the most recent federal budget.

"And our Government might just slip this in the backdoor as a huge cost on exporters.

"This is not on," he said, in challenging the Government to assure New Zealanders that its port security proposals would not be rushed through as an amendment to the Border Security Bill before Christmas.

"Any such matter needs to go through parliamentary and select committee scrutiny, and full consultation with exporters and importers," he said.


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