NZ Customs is planning a major rebuild of its core CusMod system, after receiving funding in this year’s Budget.
The department received $2.74 million in the Budget to upgrade its border management systems, including funding to plan for a replacement for CusMod. The upgrade is to mitigate the risk that the department’s services could be compromised because of inadequate IT systems.
In its 2007-2008 Statement of Intent, tabled in Parliament on May 17, Customs said it was heavily reliant on IT and that there was a significant risk that its current systems couldn’t continue to respond adequately to the changing global trade and travel environment, as well as manage emerging border risks (including international crime) and the government’s revenue collection objectives.
It said at the time that it was seeking government investment to fund the preparation of a business case for a new border-management system in time for the 2008 Budget.
Customs has indicated that the redeveloped CusMod system will be an intelligence database, with the potential for cross-border intelligence, surveillance and customer-service strategies, and with links to other governments and their agencies, including Australia.
The department anticipates up to 31,500 computer alerts in 2007-2008, to identify risk and to scan up to 19.5 million organisational transactions.
The department has data-matching agreements with the Ministry of Justice and Inland Revenue and “close relationships” with Police; the Ministry of Health; Agriculture and Forestry; Foreign Affairs and Trade; Fisheries; the Department of Labour; Internal Affairs; the Ministry for Economic Development; Conservation; the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and others.
CusMod was introduced in 1997 to process arriving and departing passengers. Middleware was added, to provide the basis for the NEXUS data-matching system. In its financial statements, the book value of Customs’ computer equipment, for the year to June 30, 2008, is shown at around $2.6 million, but software that a year earlier was valued at $5 million is written down to nothing.