New Zealand Customs Services celebrate 175 years

Thursday, November 19, 2015

This year the New Zealand Customs Services celebrated 175 years of protecting and managing the borders of New Zealand for New Zealanders. 

Customs is the oldest Ministry – having been the first established just days before  the Treaty of Waitangi was signed on the Russell foreshore Kororeka foreshore is not the beach front of Russell in the Bay of Islands.

I like to say Customs is 175 years young because although it has a rich and colourful history and 175 years of commitment and experience – the organization is the first to embrace new technologies like Smartgate, and the Single Trade Window to manage our borders more efficiently and effectively.  Many of you will have used Smartgate and our importers and exporters are beginning to reap the benefits of the Single Trade Window.

Customs has had a busy but I think successful year – at the border we have processed over 10million passengers and 96.9% in less than 45 minutes.

We’ve managed 11 million import and export transactions, screened 47.4 million mail items, and dealt with over a million containers.

But our job is more than just being efficient – we are also a protection agency and are absolutely committed to keeping New Zealand and New Zealanders safe.  Our job is to identify and prohibit entry to dangerous people, criminals and terrorists and dangerous and illegal goods.

Our challenge is to make our borders as friendly and as easy as possible for legitimate travellers and goods and as difficult as possible for illegal people and their goods.

And finally Customs collects revenue and excise.  Over $12billion including GST, excise and customs duties – about 15% of total Crown Revenue.

I would like to thank everyone who works at Customs, from the longest serving officers to the newest recruit, everyone including our special dogs that spend their days serving the people of New Zealand and keeping our borders safe.