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Border Review Result Win For Federated Farmers

30 August 2000 PR103/2000


Federated Farmers today described the continued separation of the Government's Customs and Quarantine Services as a victory for its efforts.

President Alistair Polson said that the federation had lobbied the Government to keep the two regulatory branches, and their activities, separate.

"It was clearly better for border control and New Zealand's biosecurity that the two functions remain quite separate," Mr Polson commented.

The Border Control Services Review carried out last year had recommended setting up a single agency to carry out both functions. Federated Farmers opposed this as it would have led to a blurring of accountabilities and the agencies need different skill sets, methods, and techniques.

"The two agencies have quite different roles and responsibilities, and trying to marry the two together for some possible efficiency gains would have risked their effectiveness. The Ministers of Customs and Biosecurity have made the right decision."

"But there is another step they could take to quickly and cheaply improve border control. They should bring in the instant fine system for those travellers who smuggle food or plant material into New Zealand."

"The risk is very real that another pest, like the Varroa mite, will enter the country through being smuggled in, and at present there is no effective deterrent," he concluded.

ENDS For further comment: Alistair Polson 025-370-085 Tom Lambie 026-113-161

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