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Budget bolsters border capability

15 May 2007

Budget bolsters border capability

The Government is making further major investments in biosecurity capability in this year’s Budget, Progressive Leader and Minister for Biosecurity, Jim Anderton announced today.

The Budget allocates $37.4 million over the next four years, in recognition of the challenges faced by New Zealand's biosecurity border services, he said, particularly in the face of climate change, which could increase the chances of exotic pests establishing themselves in a warmer climate.

Jim Anderton said the Budget boost was particularly focussed on the areas of quarantine services and the preparation of border related standards, such as Import Health Standards. In these two high priority areas, the Budget provides a 10% increase in funding in the next year, increasing by 13% in 2008/09 and out years.

"Over the next five years, the Government will spend around $840 million on biosecurity, which is a vital investment in our economy. The pressures on New Zealand are immense – increasing volumes of trade and international passenger arrivals, coupled with some of the toughest biosecurity standards in the world, all present serious challenges for our border protection services in facilitating trade while minimising risk," Jim Anderton said.

Effective Border Management initiatives are made up of four parts: maintaining current border inspection capability; improving future border regulation and operations; increasing stakeholder involvement and public compliance, and improving border enforcement operations.

“New Zealand’s natural environment is vitally important to our biologically based economy, as well as to tourism, so protecting the environment from exotic pests is extraordinarily important. The Labour-Progressive Government has doubled the size of border capacity since 1999 and this latest investment continues our commitment to protecting New Zealand,” Jim Anderton said.

BACKGROUND

Approximately 500,000 cargo containers and more than four million international passengers will arrive in New Zealand this year and this number is increasing annually.

- Maintaining current border inspection capability -maintaining the capability of current MAF biosecurity border inspection operations over the next 2-3 years to manage recent substantial increases in international passenger and trade volumes;

- Improving future border regulation and operations –improving MAF border regulation and operations to manage forecast growth in trade and international passenger volumes by: shifting biosecurity risks from the border to offshore; improving MAF’s ability to identify and target high and emerging risks; and by reducing barriers to overseas trade and compliance costs to business;

- Increasing stakeholder involvement and compliance- implementing a social marketing programme aimed at increasing public compliance with MAF’s border clearance requirements and broadening participation in and compliance with New Zealand’s biosecurity system -supported by improved biosecurity 0800 and website services and improving enforcement of key regulations, as part of a broader compliance strategy.

- Improving border enforcement operations - supporting border measures aimed at preventing harmful pests and diseases from entering the country.

ENDS

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