Border Levy Bill Completes First Reading

by Desk Editor on Saturday, May 23, 2015 — 5:59 PM

The first reading of the Border Processing (Arrivals and Departures) Levy Bill has been completed.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said the bill would bring in an arrival and departure levy on international travelers to fund customs and bio-security control.

How the levy would be set and paid is yet to be finalised, but it was likely the levy would be set a six dollars on departures and $16 on arrivals through people’s tickets.

Mr Guy cited the high cost of biosecurity incursions and the need to fund dealing with these and more security at the border.

Border processing costs that could be subject to the levies include the costs of—
• profiling and risk assessment activities required before travellers arrive at the border:
• processing activities to verify compliance at the border:
• post-border activities that are relevant to identifying and managing border processing risks.
The Bill imposes liability on travellers to pay a levy while an Order in Council is in force and specifies the purpose of the levy.
The Bill provides for an Order in Council to be made that prescribes the levy rate or the basis for calculating the levy, details of costs to be recovered, and other provisions relating to the administration of the levy.

Rino Tirakatene said Labour opposed the bill because biosecurity was well funded by the Crown and it was just another tax on travelers.
Mr Tirakatene wondered whether the lexy was being raised to cover a blow out in costs in the new Joint Border Management System.

The bill completed its first reading by 73 to 40 with National, Greens, Maori Party, ACT and United Future in favour.

MPs began the second reading, the bill is meant to be passed through all stages under the Urgency motion which followed Thursday’s Budget.
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