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New Zealand Customs Service celebrates 170 years

Hon Maurice Williamson

Minister of Customs

24 November 2010

Media Statement

New Zealand Customs Service celebrates 170 years

Customs Minister Maurice Williamson says the New Zealand Customs Service is celebrating 170 years of protecting our borders and being the nations “Guardians at the Gate.”

Mr Williamson says the Customs Service is New Zealand’s oldest government department and this milestone is an important piece of history for New Zealand.

“The history of Customs mirrors the history of New Zealand and I am proud to celebrate the important work Customs does in protecting our communities.

While Customs started off as a pure revenue collection agency, its role has now broadened to protect New Zealand from organised crime, illicit drugs, prohibited goods, intellectual property infringements, and people smuggling,” he says.

“Customs’ shift in focus continues to match the Government’s own priorities as we move forward. Recent successes in the interception of methamphetamine precursors are evidence of Customs’ vital role in protecting New Zealand society from modern threats.”

Customs started as a one-man operation in the Bay of Islands in 1840 and now has 1200 dedicated officers working across 16 air and sea ports in New Zealand.

“It is the dedication, quality and integrity of our Customs officers that has seen the department develop into a strong organisation that enjoys the successes of disrupting the criminals that harm our society,” Mr Williamson says.


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