Secure Exports Scheme, NZ Customs

The challenge

The New Zealand Customs Service needed to improve business access to their Secure Exports Scheme. The scheme is designed to help New Zealand exporters save time and money at the border, improve certainty in key export markets and speed up cargo in and out of New Zealand.

Membership of the scheme offers significant benefits, but the process of joining involved considerable effort and complexity – reducing uptake from small to medium sized businesses. A key ‘pain point’ for smaller exporters was the time and effort it took to develop the security plan required by Customs. The plan demonstrates how the business can meet, and continue to meet, required security standards.

For Customs, the process of bringing a new exporter onto the scheme was paper based making it resource heavy and time consuming, sometimes taking up to 18 months to complete.

The response

Business Connect worked closely with Customs to design the prototype form in FormBuilder.govt. It was easy to test with customers and quickly iterate before signing-off.

The new service steps businesses through to collect information in a structured way which is then used to generate the business’ security plan.

This significantly reduced time, effort and back-and-forth communication at both ends – with the form helping to guide the business, via help text, to understand what is needed to get it right the first time.

Customs chose to adopt the Business Connect case management tool to manage applications and reporting. The tool allows ongoing communication with applicants as they work toward achieving and maintaining partnership in the scheme.

The outcomes

  • Businesses now have an online, guided experience when applying, giving them more confidence that they are providing the right information from the start.
  • Data collected from the application is used to generate the business’ security plan, reducing effort on both sides as it was previously a much more manual process.
  • An intuitive, digitised process improved the ease and accuracy of record keeping. There is now greater visibility of application volumes and processing times.
  • Ultimately, this reduced the effort for Customs in processing applications and enabled more businesses to access the benefits of the scheme.

Businesses are telling us we need to be more joined up in government, and Business Connect shows how it can be done – helping us streamline the way we work, at a fraction of the cost of a traditional IT project.

Bryre Patchell, Group Manager, Business Improvement and Innovation, New Zealand Customs Service

Contact us

Get in touch to find out more about how Business Connect could help your organisation deliver better online services, faster.

You can email us at

Last updated: 29 September 2023