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Federated Farmers welcomes moves to improve how government ministries involved with border security operate together, but the emphasis must be on effectiveness, not just efficiency, Federated Farmers vice-president William Rolleston said.
“I applaud the move by the Minister of Primary Industries, Customs Minister and the Minister of Immigration to work together better,” Dr Rolleston said.
“However, I am concerned their emphasis, on streamlining and efficiency, is in the wrong place. New Zealand relies on having strong border controls to keep out pests and diseases which could threaten our agricultural industries.
“Improving border management systems to improve efficiency and effectiveness is an admirable goal as long as it has the intention of keeping unwanted organisms out. Doing it just to process more international passengers faster would be a mistake.
“It is better to have a few disgruntled tourists kept waiting a few minutes longer by our Customs officers than to deal with an outbreak such as foot and mouth disease because one of them brought contaminated food products into New Zealand.
“I believe there is also a deterrent role to be played by having strict and visible border security systems as people enter our country. It lets people know New Zealand takes the security of its borders seriously. Visibility is a great deterrent. Biosecurity should not just be done, it should be seen to be done,” Dr Rolleston concluded.