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Border improvements for NZers flying to Australia

Hon Nanaia Mahuta
Minister of Customs
Minister of Youth Affairs
Associate Minister for the Environment
Associate Minister of Local Government

Senator the Hon Christopher Ellison
Minister for Justice and Customs
Manager of Government Business in the Senate
Senator for Western Australia

Joint Media Release

For immediate release 21 November 2005

Border processing improvements for New Zealanders flying to Australia

New border control arrangements at major Australian airports will soon allow arriving New Zealand and Australian passport holders to queue in the same lanes to pass through Customs and immigration checks.

The changes, to take effect from 24 November 2005, were announced today by the Australian Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison, and the New Zealand Minister of Customs, Hon Nanaia Mahuta.

From that date, all New Zealand passport holders arriving at Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane International Airports will be able to join a new Australian-NZ only lane.

Ms Mahuta said the changes to Australia’s queuing arrangements marked a milestone in Trans-Tasman border developments.

“This is great news for Kiwi travellers and it's symbolic of our close ties with Australia. Last financial year alone, some 1.1 million Kiwis made the journey across the Tasman.”

Senator Ellison said the border processing change reflected arrangements already in place for Australian passport holders arriving in New Zealand.

"These new arrangements are symbolic of the continued strong economic and cultural ties between our two countries."

He said this announcement does not signal any change to visa requirements for New Zealanders travelling to Australia. He also said there would be no change for departing passengers, as there are currently no separate queuing for Australians flying out.

Senator Ellison said the new arrangements were agreed as part of a commitment between NZ and Australia to form a joint High Level Steering Group between the two Customs services.

He said the Steering Group would address such issues as:

- Improving facilitation of trade and travel

- Developing harmonised technologies wherever possible, and

- Policy changes to more closely align border processes.

The next Steering Group meeting is planned for February 2006 in Wellington.

ENDS


Notes:

Visa requirements for New Zealanders arriving at Australian airports
On 1 September 1994, amendments made by The Migration Reform Act 1958, resulted in a number of changes to migration legislation in Australia. One of the changes introduced was the legal requirement for all non-citizens lawfully in Australia to hold visas.

As a result, the Special Category Visa (SCV) was introduced for New Zealand citizens. In practical terms, there was no change to procedures for New Zealand citizens wanting to come to Australia. They continue to need only a valid New Zealand passport to travel to Australia and in most cases, do not need to seek a visa before travelling. [New Zealand citizens with medical conditions or criminal convictions should approach the nearest Australian immigration office to discuss their entry to Australia before travelling to Australia.]

At the time of presenting their passports for immigration clearance they are considered to have applied for a visa and, subject to health or character considerations, will automatically receive an SCV which is recorded electronically.

Their New Zealand passports are stamped, showing the date of arrival in Australia. This is the only evidence provided or necessary to show they are holders of an SCV.

For more information see: www.immi.gov.au/facts/17nz.htm

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