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Current as of 26/05/16 05:19PM NZST
Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the NZME. News Service office in Wellington.

NZ SmartGate opened up to US, UK travellers

Smartgate technology at Auckland International Airport. Photo / File
Smartgate technology at Auckland International Airport. Photo / File

New Zealand's new high-tech border control entry system has been opened up to travellers from the United States and the United Kingdom.

SmartGate uses information in ePassports and facial recognition technology for Customs and immigration checks.

It is already being used for travellers from New Zealand and Australia.

"Extending SmartGate to UK and US passengers on arrival will showcase New Zealand's high-tech border at the start of people's visit, instead of only when they leave, giving them a great first impression," Customs Minister Maurice Williamson said.

"SmartGate is also essential to cope with the increasing number of travellers from overseas securely and quickly, with visitor numbers predicted to increase by 400,000 in the next three years."

Customs has 22 SmartGates at Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch airports used by about 60,000 travellers per week.

Customs was investigating whether to open up SmartGate to other nationalities, Mr Williamson said.

- APNZ

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