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Govt backsliding on border security, says Copeland

Media Statement For immediate release Thursday, 26 February, 2004

Govt backsliding on border security, says Copeland

The Government is backsliding on its "defence of the realm" obligations in burdening business with the proposed $12 million border security levy, United Future's Gordon Copeland said today.

"We're talking about the first duty of any government, which is to keep its citizens safe - and this Government is shirking that responsibility," he said.

"It is quite literally passing the buck - or 12 million of them to be precise.

"As I've said before, importers and exporters are being treated like an ATM, but the hard fact is that improved security at our ports is not a burden they should be carrying on the part of all New Zealanders.

"It is a government issue and should be a government expense.

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

'This is not just about doing business. This is a national security issue arising from the events of September 11. It's about keeping terrorists and their weapons out of New Zealand - and it's 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.

"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," Mr Copeland said.

Ends.

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