Cabinet Approves Customs Re-Structuring

  • John Delamare

Customs Minister Hon Tuariki Delamere announced today that Cabinet has approved a strategic business plan for the New Zealand Customs Service.

The plan is intended to refocus the Service's resources to achieve national consistency in the application of Customs work and to reflect the shifting of Customs customer base.

Mr Delamere said "In simple terms, business is moving from south to north so the Service needs to ensure it's got the right people in the right place, which makes a rebalancing of resources necessary."

It's expected that there will be a net reduction in staff of 60, but the Minister said he was confident there would be no reduction of Customs' effectiveness at the border. "Indeed, Customs frontline staff will be beefed up in the Auckland region."

The major impact will be on support activities, such as Head Office management and information technology staff.

"For some years now, Customs has been progressively adopting a targeted risk management strategy and structure that is globally recognised as one of the most sophisticated and advanced implementations of this strategy.

"These changes are going to enhance the Service even further. Already New Zealand is looked upon overseas as a model among Customs administrations for its initiatives in Customs modernisation programmes.

"The recent upgrading of Customs computer systems, known as CusMod, is a key component in assuring that the Service has a modern, responsive, integrated process automation that has already improved its service to its clients.

"What these changes reflect is the Government's desire to ensure that Customs becomes even smarter, more targeted, even more intelligence-based, with the greatest proportion of its staff working in the operational areas of the business, as opposed to being in support roles.

"In other words, the current level of activity by Customs staff at the border will remain the same or increase, but there'll be fewer staff in the back office," concluded the Minister.