Aviation, tourism and energy writer for the Business Herald

Trial hopes to streamline travel across the Tasman

More than a million people travel between New Zealand and Australia annually. Picture / Kenny Rodger
More than a million people travel between New Zealand and Australia annually. Picture / Kenny Rodger

A trial is under way to streamline border processing for low-risk travellers and traders, starting with those who fly across the Tasman.

While in its early stages, Customs Minister Nicky Wagner said trusted passengers who regularly travelled the route would be involved in the trial.

They would supply extra information to border agencies and in return undergo less screening as they go through airports. Other measures, such as iris scanning, could also be used.

In the United States, there is a similar scheme for approved frequent travellers, who have fewer security checks such as not having to remove laptops from bags or take off shoes.

More than 1 million people travel in each direction across the Tasman annually and holdups at the border are a source of irritation for those who travel frequently.

Wagner said it wasn't known how many passengers would be needed for the $1.6 million trial, but it would require a sufficient number to identify any problems with it.

It was not known whether police checks would be needed, but authorities would also work with the organisations passengers work for.

The trial has been welcomed by Flight Centre.

"Should the trial be a success, anything that ensures customer experience is as best it can be by streamlining the processes at our border is going to be a positive," said NZ managing director David Coombes,

The Government will also spend $2.8 million over two years to speed up clearance of low-risk goods across the border.

- NZ Herald

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