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Customs Steps Up Regional Operations

Customs Steps Up Regional Operations

The New Zealand Customs Service is appointing four new Operations Managers who will play a key role in meeting new security challenges.

"Internationally, increased awareness of terrorism and transnational crime means Governments around the world, including here in New Zealand, need to know more about what’s crossing their borders,” says Customs National Manager Goods, Allen Bruford. To secure New Zealand's trade in this new international environment, Customs is investing in cargo x-ray technology and employing around 130 new Goods inspections staff to enhance the screening of both import and, particularly, export goods. Customs screens information about all import and export cargo, and where it identifies a high or unknown level of risk it will take further action, including the physical examination of cargo if required.

“We already examine import cargo considered to be a risk, either by x-ray, using detector dogs, or by physically inspecting the goods. However to be able to respond to the increased level of risk in the international environment, including examining export cargo as required, we are up-sizing our capabilities,” says Allen Bruford.

“This has included creating the new operations managers positions in the main centres. These roles will enable us to put an even stronger focus on managing the evaluation, risk assessment and examination of cargo in an efficient and effective way, while minimising the impact on traders.”

The new managers will also work alongside their colleagues responsible for this activity in regional ports. The appointees, Brian Lamb, Cliff Russell, John Pihema and Maurice O’Brien, are all experienced Customs officers who bring a broad range of border management expertise to their jobs.

Brian Lamb (Auckland Airfreight Operations Manager) has been with Customs for 31 years, most recently as New Zealand Customs Liaison Officer in Bangkok, Thailand. Brian takes up his new position early next year.

Cliff Russell (Auckland Seafreight Operations Manager) has 34 years experience with Customs. Most recently, Cliff has been seconded to the project team which has been planning the development of Customs expanded secure exports capability.

John Pihema (Wellington Operations Manager) joined Customs in 1985. John’s most recent role has been leading Customs operations at Palmerston North International Airport, and also in the Wellington marine port environment.

Maurice O’Brien (Christchurch Operations Manager) has been with Customs for 27 years, most recently leading the Customs South Island Risk Response Group which responds to ships, aircraft or small vessels identified as high risk, as well as patrolling New Zealand’s coastline.

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