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Border sector Ministers have welcomed a new report by the Office of the Auditor-General published today on the use of information at New Zealand’s ports, and say their agencies will continue to work closely to protect our borders.

“This is a positive report which recognises good collaboration between the three border agencies. It finds there are strong relationships and effective processing of passengers,” says Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse.

“The agencies are already working on the report’s recommendations, including briefings for new staff on the different agencies’ roles and for an updated Border Sector strategy.”

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says the report shows staff are working effectively and recently updated training programmes are a particular strength.

“Biosecurity is my number one priority as Minister so it is pleasing to see another good report card. This follows a positive Office of the Auditor General report in 2015 showing the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has made very good progress in biosecurity responses and preparedness.

“In this year’s Budget we boosted biosecurity funding to nearly a quarter of a billion dollars. This has helped MPI employ 50 new biosecurity staff and 20 extra biosecurity detector dog teams, along with new x-ray machines, a border clearance levy and the Biosecurity 2025 Direction Statement.”

Customs Minister Tim Macindoe says it is pleasing to see Customs and MPI staff are working together effectively.

“The report acknowledges the recently updated frontline training programmes as a particular strength, and notes improved collaboration between Border Sector Agencies in recent years.

“Initial scoping is underway between Customs and MPI to look at opportunities for joint Border Sector training and recruitment. This will help to improve awareness of and understanding between frontline staff at the two agencies.”

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