Government steps up border management work

  • Maurice Williamson
  • Nathan Guy
  • David Carter
Customs Immigration Primary Industries

The Government’s three border agencies are stepping up work to make trade and travel more efficient through better co-ordination of border services.

Primary Industries Minister David Carter, Customs Minister Maurice Williamson and Immigration Minister Nathan Guy today announced “Future Directions for the Border Sector”, a work programme to look at how the three agencies can operate together more effectively.

“A wide range of collaborative work is already underway across the three agencies. This new programme will build on the progress made in improving trade and travel services, while keeping a firm focus on border security,” says Mr Carter.

“It is about taking a fresh look at the functions of each agency and how co-ordination of the overall border management system can be improved.

“Protecting the integrity of New Zealand’s biosecurity system is a top priority. With $80 billion of exports and imports and 10 million travellers across our border each year, this must not be compromised,” Mr Carter says.

The Ministers say travel and trade patterns are changing rapidly as New Zealand interacts with more international partners, tourism is increasing and pressure is building for more streamlined travel.

“This work programme will build on a number of joint initiatives already overseen by the Border Sector Governance Group to improve information sharing and the targeting of risk at the border,” says Mr Williamson.

“An example is the Joint Border Management System (JBMS), a new information system developed by Customs and MAF, which is leading to reduced duplication and fragmentation of border services and lower costs for industry and government.”

The Ministers say the work is consistent with the Government’s goal of delivering better public services across the board.

“New technologies are giving us access to information faster and we should be using this to improve our effectiveness at the border,” says Mr Guy.

“We must ensure that our border is fit for the future. An efficient border management system is critical to New Zealand’s economic growth and prosperity.”

The work programme will provide recommendations to the Government by mid-year.