International Customs Day an opportunity to acknowledge the work of Customs staff

  • Hon Kris Faafoi

Minister of Customs Hon Kris Faafoi says International Customs Day (26 January) is timely to recognise the work of the important agency.

“While most people know Customs as the people helping them through travel or business, there’s a much wider role undertaken often behind the scenes.

“In the year to 30 June 2018:

  • Customs intercepted illicit drugs with a street value of $345 million.
  • Staff seized more than 100,000 objectionable publications relating to child exploitation and abuse.
  • Staff risk-assessed and processed 14 million international passengers and processed 16 million import and export transactions.

“Also importantly for our national economy, Customs collected $14.4 billion of revenue on behalf of the Crown

“As Minister of Customs, I am very proud of the commitment of Customs staff for all of this important work - they protect our country’s borders from risks and threats, while also helping grow our economy.

“Customs staff operate in an environment of increasing trade and travel, increasing diversity of risk, and increasing customer service expectations. Theirs is not an easy job, but it is critical to the safety and prosperity of all New Zealanders.

In recent years Customs has increased its focus on preventing harm to New Zealand by disrupting drug supply chains offshore and intercepting drugs overseas, before they reach New Zealand’s border.

“In 2018, there were 131 seizures of drugs destined for New Zealand by overseas law enforcement partners. These seizures occurred in 27 countries, involved 343 kilograms of drugs, resulted in $404.7 million of potential harm and social cost being avoided, and included 259 kilograms of methamphetamine and 36 kilograms of cocaine. The 2018 offshore seizures were a 504 per cent increase on the previous year.”

“In 2018, over half of all the methamphetamine seized, which was destined for the New Zealand market, was intercepted offshore – meaning that there was a reduction in the amount of methamphetamine seized at the New Zealand border.”

“New Zealand Customs is a key agency in combatting transnational organised crime seeking to smuggle drugs into New Zealand.”

The World Customs Organisation is dedicating 2019 to the swift and smooth cross-border movement of goods, people and means of transport, with the slogan “SMART borders for seamless Trade, Travel and Transport”.

“By increasing its focus on offshore seizures, Customs has been able to provide a faster, more efficient and more effective service at our own border – benefiting arriving and departing travellers, and New Zealand businesses that import and export goods.

“I want to use the opportunity of International Customs Day to celebrate the work of Customs both here in New Zealand and offshore, and to thank them on behalf of the Government and all New Zealanders.”

Note to editors:

Customs has 1230 staff in 16 New Zealand and 8 overseas locations.

Average length of service is 12 years.


New Zealand staff: 720 Akld, 306 Wgtn,  151 Chc, 2 Opua, 1 Whangarei, 21 Tauranga, 1 Hamilton, 1 Te Awamutu, 4 New Plymouth, 9 Napier, 5 Nelson, 1 Blenheim, 1 Timaru, 28 Queenstown, 25 Dunedin, 1 Invercargill (Bluff).


Overseas: 1 Brussels, 2 Washington DC, 1 Bangkok, 2 Canberra, 1 Beijing, 1 Hong Kong, 1 Jakarta, 1 London.