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PM launches SmartGate for faster, easier travel

Hon John Key

Prime Minister

3 December 2009
Media Statement

PM launches SmartGate for faster, easier travel

Trans-Tasman travel is becoming faster and easier as SmartGate today begins operating at Auckland International Airport, Prime Minister John Key says.

Mr Key today officially launched SmartGate for trans-Tasman passengers arriving at Auckland Airport and used his passport to become the first person through the new automated passenger clearance system.

SmartGate is a kiosk and gate system that uses face recognition biometric technology and the information stored in a microchip inside e-passports to perform the identity check that is usually conducted by a Customs officer.

The system also begins operating in Wellington and Christchurch airports next year as the Government moves to streamline trans-Tasman passenger travel.

“SmartGate users will instantly notice a difference as they enter New Zealand from across the Tasman,” Mr Key says.

“The system allows e-passport holders to self-process, where previously they would have had their identity checked by a Customs officer.”

“Along with other measures the Government is introducing to streamline travel across the Tasman, SmartGate will help passengers get out of the airport faster and give them a positive first impression of New Zealand,” Mr Key says.

Customs will be able to focus important resources on higher-risk passengers and operate more efficiently as SmartGate is introduced.

Mr Key says SmartGate is part of a wider Government work programme to make travel between New Zealand and Australia faster and easier.

As previously announced, biosecurity screening is also changing and work continues to further streamline border processes between the two countries.

ENDS

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