As the number of immigrants and tourists heading to New Zealand continues to grow at record levels, the country’s Immigration Minister, Michael Woodhouse, has announced additional funding to significantly boost the number of immigration officers assigned to deal with the new arrivals.
The 2015 NZ budget reveals that the government will invest NZ$33 million of new operating expenditure over the next four years to improve customer service for those entering the country,
Passenger arrival numbers are expected to continue rising over the next few years, with the growth mainly in emerging markets. Passenger arrivals have already risen by nearly 1.3 million over the past ten years to almost 5.2 million.
“Positive growth in our tourism and export education sectors has seen the need for additional resources and investment to manage the increased number of passengers and the changing nature of global risk,” Minister Woodhouse explained.
“The NZ$33 million allows for an extra 36 Immigration New Zealand staff, including border officers at Auckland, Christchurch and Queenstown airports, as well as specialist officers to manage emerging risk in offshore markets.”
The Minister continued: “Inbound tourism is one of our most important industries, worth more than NZ$10 billion a year. But with increasing arrivals from a more diverse range of countries, we have to ensure we have the systems and resources on the ground to deal with those who pose an unacceptable risk to New Zealand.”
This announcement is part of a range of measures in Budget 2015 to improve security and services at the border, involving immigration, customs and biosecurity.