The underfunding of Customs is putting the security of New Zealand’s borders at risk, says Labour’s Customs spokesperson Rino Tirikatene.
“Reports that Customs only stop 10% of illicit drug imports and are not investigating Class B drugs or imports under 5 kilograms are deeply concerning. This is a sure sign of a department that is unable to do its job adequately and appropriately.
The loss of 60 fish processing jobs in Nelson is yet another troubling sign that regional New Zealand is being neglected by the National Government says Labour's Fisheries Spokesperson and Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene.
“The regions are hurting under National. Another 60 people will join the other 5,300 jobless in the region and the 151,000 currently unemployed nationwide.
“The reality is that many will have to leave the Nelson area to find work. That's not right. The Government should be working to revitalise the regions rather than leaving them to be hollowed out by joblessness and neglect.
The fishing parks promised by National at the last election appear to be sinking without trace, says Labour's Fisheries Spokesperson Rino Tirikatene.
“Fifteen months ago the Prime Minister and Nick Smith pledged to create recreational fishing parks in the Hauraki Gulf and Marlborough Sounds. But repeated delays in the publication of a discussion document, let alone the creation of the parks, suggests all is not well behind the scenes.
A record number of food recalls this year shows the urgent need to re-establish a stand-alone food safety agency, Labour’s Food Safety spokesperson Damien O’Connor says.
“Figures obtained by Labour show there was 27 recalls in the year to November 27. Since then three other products have been recalled – frozen berries contaminated with Hepatitis A, ham containing listeria and under-cooked smoked chicken.
Treasury says the cost blowout of the troubled Joint Border Management System is now closing in on $50 million and could rise to as much as $132 million over the life of the project, says Labour's Customs Spokesperson Rino Tirikatene.
“Just last week Customs told MPs at Select Committee the current cost of the project is $104 million, around $30 million more than the $75 million originally earmarked.
“But of even greater concern, Treasury says that the 'whole of life' costs of the project could jump to over $207 million.
The belated recall of imported frozen berries suspected of being contaminated with Hepatitis A came too late for the fifth New Zealander to be infected with the virus, Labour’s Food Safety spokesperson Damien O’Connor says.
“The Ministry of Primary Industries initially warned people to boil all berries. After days of pressure, it finally issued a recall.
The continued delays and the cost blowout of Customs Joint Border Management System are costing the taxpayer tens of millions of dollars says Labour's Customs Spokesperson Rino Tirikatene.
“Customs today said that the troubled project is now four years overdue, and is tens of millions of dollars over budget. Despite the Customs Service attempted fudging of the details, this project is quickly becoming a white elephant of Novopay proportions.
The risk to consumers posed by frozen imported berries contaminated with Hepatitis A shows the need for New Zealand to have Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL), Labour’s Food Safety spokesperson Damien O’Connor says.
“The Ministry of Primary Industries’ refusal to name the affected products or the country these berries were grown in is unhelpful to consumers, food producers and importers of safe products.
Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy must seek urgent answers from his Ministry over its handling of imported frozen berries linked to a Hepatitis A outbreak, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says.
“The Ministry for Primary Industries must publicly name the affected products and recall them.
The fishing giant Sanford’s decision to end its commercial operations in the Hauraki Gulf is a stinging indictment of the Government’s inaction which has left fisheries management in the gulf’s waters in limbo, says Labour’s Fisheries spokesperson Rino Tirikatene.
“Last year the Government identified the Hauraki Gulf as one of its first recreational fishing parks where commercial fishing will be off limits.