Customs has achieved a great deal over the last three years, from streamlining the border process to record drug seizures and new legislation that reflects the modern border environment, Customs Minister Nicky Wagner says.
“From officials to front line officers, everyone at Customs works incredibly hard to keep New Zealand and New Zealanders safe. It’s been an absolute pleasure serving as Customs Minster and I’m incredibly proud of the organisation’s achievements over the last few years,” Ms Wagner says.
“The Customs and Excise Act Review has led to the development of modern, fit-for-purpose legislation that supports economic growth by making it easier for traders to do business.
“The Customs and Excise Bill enables Customs to deal with the considerable growth in trade and travel, and the security challenges such growth brings. This, coupled with the modernisation and transformation of the Customs’ workforce, means more Customs officers are focusing on border risks and law enforcement.
“Customs officers are supported by modern technology and processes that enable them to better identify and prioritise risks. New detection tools, an intelligence-led approach, partnerships, and the expertise of skilled officers have seen record seizures of methamphetamine over the last three years.”
Ms Wagner says collaboration with offshore customs agencies prevented over $205 million of social and economic harm to New Zealand in the 2015/16 financial year.
“New intelligence tools developed by the Joint Border Management System programme (JBMS) will help Customs catch more methamphetamine smugglers, boost existing risk assessment processes, and provide new insights into border risk through the use of analytics software and data sharing,” Ms Wagner says.
“Last month’s completion of Trade Single Window, a component of JBMS, was the culmination of an incredible amount of work by Customs and the Ministry for Primary Industries. This e-commerce platform enables importers and exporters to meet all border requirements in one place.
“International travel is another vital part of New Zealand’s growing economy and in the past year alone Customs risk assessed and processed a record 12.8 million arriving and departing travellers.
“The Government’s $6.6 million eGate upgrade and expansion project is helping manage the increased volume of passengers, with 50 of the new and improved eGates now fully operational nationwide.”