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Budget Leaves Borders Wide Open

Budget Leaves Borders Wide Open

New Zealand First says that cuts to Customs and Biosecurity in the Budget will create gaping holes in New Zealand’s defences against foreign pests and diseases.

Customs and Biosecurity spokesperson Richard Prosser says the reduction in funding of more than $35 million for Customs, and nearly $8 million across border Biosecurity agencies, is "staggering" given the importance of agriculture to New Zealand’s economy and its vulnerability to imported organisms.

 “Access to this country is being made easier for more people and goods, with fewer inspections and fewer safeguards.

“Coupled with the virtual open-door policy which is Smart Gate, and this Government’s propensity for throwing away the rulebook where the Chinese nouveau-riche are concerned, New Zealand’s most important industries are being recklessly exposed to potential threats which could cause irreparable harm.

“We need to be spending more on biosecurity and border security, not less, and cuts to these services in the Budget are simply irresponsible acts by John Key’s administration,” says Mr Prosser.

ENDS

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