Key Points:

New Zealanders with electronic passports travelling to Australia will be able to save time moving through airports with the introduction automatic passport-reading machines.

A ticket kiosk downloads details from their passports, including an electronic image of the passport holder's face, the Dominion Post reported today.

Passengers then get a coupon for a gate where cameras and computers using facial recognition technology do checks previously done by customs officers.

Customs comptroller Martyn Dunne said New Zealanders had been able to use the SmartGate at Brisbane Airport since late last year and the system would soon be set up in Sydney.

Mr Dunne said similar machines would be tested in Wellington in the next few months and the system was expected to be in use for all trans-Tasman travel in time for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

The system would initially be available to New Zealanders and Australians with electronic passports but would be expanded to include other countries.

- NZPA