A new NZ$140 million border management system was supposed to replace and retire twenty year old software but New Zealand's Customs Service is now describing the legacy CusMod system as "suitable for continued use" after server and software upgrades.
In a hearing on Budget estimates before Parliament's Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committeee, Customs was unable to set a date for retirement of the old system even after having spent NZ$104 million so far on its replacement.
In 2007, Customs said there was a significant risk CusMod couldn't continue to respond to changes in global trade and travel, continue to manage emerging risks such as international crime or meet revenue collection objectives
Eight years later, the agency is told Parliament "very large" amounts of information are still stored in CusMod, it is still considered an important tool and will be retained "for the time being".
The hearing also revealed the planned second tranche of the Joint Border Management System (JBMS) project, focusing on risk and intelligence, will not proceed as planned and is being replaced with modular implementations with no specified delivery date.
Customs also explained that "legal discussions" were required to manage the agency's relationship with vendor IBM and to recast the original JBMS contract.
The first tranche of the JBMS started life with a budget of just NZ$75.9 million and was to be completed by the end of 2012, but Customs Minister Nicky Wagner is denying suggestions of a budget blowout.
Wagner said the project was within budget, and additional funding was not expected to be sought
"The minister commented that the combined cost for tranche one and two was originally planned to total NZ$140 million, and NZ$104 million has been expended so far," the committee's report says.
Customs assured the committee the completed JBMS would meet the aspirations of functionality set out in 2011. The project is expected to be completed by 2015/16.