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Securing trade and travel a key priority

Securing trade and travel a key priority

Managing New Zealand's borders has become more significant due to ever increasing international trade and travel, says new Customs Minister Nanaia Mahuta.

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Commenting on the New Zealand Customs Service's Briefing For The Incoming Minister, released today, Ms Mahuta said the breadth of activities and work involved in managing New Zealand's border was vast.

"It's clear that Customs is operating in a more complex global environment now more than ever before. This work is an important part of making New Zealanders feel secure, and safe," said Ms Mahuta.

"Customs' core capabilities have been enhanced with a 50 per cent increase in staff since 2001/02. This will help meet the increase in passenger and trade volumes, the growing risk of trans-national organised crime and the threat of terrorism."

Customs also has a greater emphasis on moving from reactive enforcement to proactive border prevention to meet the growing threat of crime and terrorism.

"Cooperation and inter-agency engagement is a vital element to providing that level of proactive border prevention.

"Customs works closely with the Police and other agencies through the National Drug Intelligence Bureau to target trans-national criminal syndicates. The Supply Chain Security Strategy is helping to ensure the security of international trade, so that our exports can be facilitated into overseas markets at a time of heightened security concern," she said.

Managing increased international air passenger volumes continues to be a key focus, and work is well underway with other border and airport agencies to effectively manage numbers over the next 10 years.

"It's good to see that a number of strategies are being implemented to strengthen border management, and to ensure that Customs remains an agile organisation that is able to anticipate and respond to change."

Copies of the Briefing are available online at: www.customs.govt.nz

ENDS

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