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Budget 2015: $33m boost for Immigration

14 May 2015

Budget 2015: $33m boost for Immigration

Budget 2015 will invest $33 million of new operating expenditure over the next four years to boost the number of immigration officers at a time of record-breaking visitor numbers, Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse says.

An additional $25.1 million of operating funding from the crown will be accompanied by $7.9 million of cost recovery from immigration fees, to total $33 million of new expenditure on the Immigration frontline. In addition to this new operating expenditure Budget 2015 also includes a $6.6 million capital investment in strengthened border security systems.

Passenger arrival numbers are expected to continue rising over the next few years, with the growth mainly in emerging markets. Passenger arrivals have already risen by nearly 1.3 million over the past 10 years to nearly 5.2 million.

“Positive growth in our tourism and export education sectors has seen the need for additional resources and investment to manage the increased number of passengers and the changing nature of global risk,” Mr Woodhouse says.

“The $33 million allows for an extra 36 Immigration New Zealand staff, including border officers at Auckland, Christchurch and Queenstown airports, as well as specialist officers to manage emerging risk in offshore markets.

“Tourism is one of our most important industries, worth around $9 billion a year. But with increasing arrivals from a more diverse range of countries, we have to ensure we have the systems and resources on the ground to deal with those who pose an unacceptable risk to New Zealand.

“The extra resources will further strengthen Immigration New Zealand’s ability to identify and manage immigration risk offshore through advance information and risk profiling.

“I’m confident that as a result more high-risk people will be prevented from boarding a flight to New Zealand in the first place, resulting in fewer people being intercepted at the border.”

This announcement is part of a range of measures in Budget 2015 to improve security and services at the border, involving immigration, customs and biosecurity.

ends

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