Budget funding will continue SmartGate success

  • Maurice Williamson
Customs Budget 2011

Budget 2011 includes an extra $3.5 million in operational funding for SmartGate, Customs Minister Maurice Williamson says.

The Budget also provides $3.4 million in capital spending for 2011/12.

The system, which uses face recognition biometric technology from the information stored in a microchip inside ePassports, has recently just clocked its one millionth passenger.

“SmartGate is an unqualified success and the uptake at New Zealand airports has been well ahead of expectations,” Mr Williamson says.

Demand is being driven by the increase in New Zealand and Australian passengers with ePassports who are eligible to use it. Tourism volumes are also expected to increase over the next few years.

SmartGate is currently available at Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch airports.

The funding will see six more gates and 13 kiosks installed between Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch Airports and will move trans-Tasman travel a step closer to the “near domestic” experience sought by both the New Zealand and Australian governments.

“Additional SmartGate capacity will greatly assist in the management of major events such as the Rugby World Cup 2011,” Mr Williamson says.