Customs Minister Kris Faafoi says a member of the 'unruly tourist' family should never have been able to leave New Zealand - using someone else's passport - while facing criminal charges

Faafoi conceded today that it was a case of "human error which shouldn't have happened".

Customs is now reviewing its processes and Faafoi said had been reassured it was an exceptionally rare occurrence.

"While it isn't acceptable it is very rare," a spokeswoman for Faafoi said.


Customs officials are reviewing processes after a man wanted in relation to an Auckland roofing scam slipped through Customs using someone else's passport.

James Nolan was able to flee NZ using someone else's passport.
James Nolan was able to flee NZ using someone else's passport.

James Anthony Nolan, 26, has a warrant out for his arrest after failing to appear in court over the past few weeks.

He faces allegations of fraud, assault with a weapon and reckless driving.

Nolan is linked to the British family widely dubbed as the "unruly tourists" who caused havoc around New Zealand over the holidays.

Late last week, police said their investigations into his whereabouts had led them to believe he had fled New Zealand.

It has since been revealed a mistake was made by a Customs staff member; which led to Nolan slipping through at the Auckland International Airport.

In a statement released last night, Customs said they had robust procedures and systems in place to protect our borders, but acknowledged that Nolan had managed to get through on false pretences.

"James Nolan deliberately circumvented border controls by using a valid passport that was not his own.


"He used an eGate, which uses biometric data to match and confirm the identity of a passenger. The eGate identified further checks were needed on the passport.

"The image was automatically sent to a Customs officer, who incorrectly identified Nolan as the passport owner.

"Unfortunately, that was a case of human error, which shouldn't have occurred."

Customs officials have since launched a review into its processes that led to the incident and said they were taking the breach seriously.

"Staff are being reminded of the importance of visual checks and validating the identity of all travellers.''