Description/achievement of initiative
Through its customs and statistics agencies, New Zealand has developed strong institutional linkages with Pacific SIDS to support the development of efficient and transparent customs and trade facilitation systems and procedures. The objective of these partnerships is to improve long-term economic growth and security for participating SIDS by:- facilitating trade and tourist flows - better mitigating illegal border activity- accurately identifying, collecting and accounting for revenue due- improving trade statistics, legislative frameworks and decision-making.
These partnerships are achieved through adopting a programme-based approach. The sharing of expertise occurs through building strong, direct and long-term institutional linkages that enable sustainable knowledge, skill and technology exchange adapted to small island environments.
Arrangements for Capacity-Building and Technology Transfer
PC Trade: a computer-based software system designed and supported by Statistics New Zealand to capture the merchandise trade (imports and exports) data and reproduce specific reports. It has been specifically designed for use by customs or statistical agencies with limited staff and computer resources. PC Trade is operating in a dozen countries (one/both of statistical or customs agencies) across the Pacific, enabling them to provide accurate and timely trade information, assisting in the formulation of import duty legislation and providing valuable input into National Accounts statistics.Statistics New Zealand provides a help desk facility that includes technical support and in-country training as required. Pacific staff working in trade facilitation can then travel to New Zealand to participate in statistical training offered through the complementary Annual Statistics Attachment Programme.Customs modernisation: strengthening of linkages between New Zealand's customs administration and that in the Cook Islands began 2009. This initiative demonstrated the importance of adopting a partnership approach to customs modernisation. It has required deep commitment not only from the technical experts involved but, more importantly, the political will in the benefitting country and the long-term and sustained commitment of the recipient organisation's top-level management.By working together through a wide range of customs modernisation reform initiatives legislative, policy, procedural, systems automation and improvement, and organisational reform complemented by an experiential leadership programme (which included both training and mentoring components), the Cook Islands has reported significant results, including a reduction of customs clearance times from an average of 24hrs to 2-3 minutes (providing estimated annual savings to traders of between NZ$690,000 and NZ$1.1 million). Ongoing administrative costs for government and traders are also estimated to have been cut by between NZ$138,000 and NZ$690,000. Timely analysis of visitor movements and visitor spending patterns is now possible which is of benefit to the tourism industry, and the government has improved trade statistics reporting. This Cook Islands pilot has informed how the New Zealand Customs Service has begun working with other customs administrations (including Samoa and Fiji) as it seeks to complement support provided by the Oceania Customs Organisation and other donors in the Pacific.
Coordination mechanisms/governance structure
Individual bilateral governance arrangements and priorities are negotiated with participating countries, ensuring the change process is owned by the Pacific partner. Overall responsibility for the regional support is governed by New Zealand technical agencies, and accountability for results rests with both the Pacific partner and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the donor.
Customs and/or statistics administrations in 13 Pacific SIDS, including Cook Islands
New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs
New Zealand Customs Service
Statistics New Zealand