More than one million people travel in and out of NZ annually and holdups at the border are a source of irritation for those who travel frequently. Are you sick of unpacking your laptop and taking your shoes off at customs? Well, this may be about to change. The NZ Government have poured $5.4 Million into a new pilot program to streamline trans-Tasman border control, and it’s good news for business travellers and traders.
The announcement was made as part of last week’s NZ budget, when Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Customs Minister Nicky Wagner outlined the Government’s plans to revamp its border control processes.
"The Government is investing $1.6 million of operating funding over two years to make it easier for low-risk travellers to visit New Zealand, and $2.8 million of operating funding over two years to speed up clearance of low risk goods across the border," Guy said.
"An additional $1 million of operating funding over two years will see the establishment of a border research, technology and innovation cell to develop technological solutions to support streamlined border processing.”
The purpose of the program will be to save time, but to also maintain New Zealand’s strict border security standards.
"Selected regular trans-Tasman travellers will provide detailed information before they reach the border to enable an advanced risk assessment.”
"The aim is to better identify and fast-track low-risk travellers, and target resources at the highest-risk areas to more effectively protect our borders,” said Guy.
As part of the trial program, agencies will work with businesses to design a final scheme that also enables faster clearance of low-risk goods.
"The trial aims to get information earlier, allowing for earlier risk assessment and reducing costs for traders,” said Wagner.
"If the trial proves successful not only will there be time and cost savings for traders and travellers, it will sharpen the Government's focus on managing high-risk activities at the border."
Darrin Grafton, Serko CEO says the announcement is a positive step for business travellers and owners alike.
“It’s important that we continue to evaluate our border control processes to ensure they’re as safe and efficient as possible. The United States have successfully launched a similar program and we’ve seen the benefits of past innovations such as SmartGate processing here in NZ, so we’re excited about the latest development.”
“Not only does this significantly enhance the travel experience for our customers, but with the increasing spotlight on the duty of care responsibilities of business owners, reducing the overall travel time of employees can only be a good thing,” he said.