Milestone illustrates popularity of SmartGa

Friday 5 October 2012, 4:56PM
By Maurice Williamson

The four-millionth passenger passed through SmartGate this week (Thursday), highlighting the on-going popularity of the technology with New Zealand and Australian ePassport holders.

Customs Minister Maurice Williamson says since its introduction in 2009 the popularity of SmartGate has grown rapidly, and the uptake in New Zealand is higher than in Australia.

I'm delighted with the uptake of SmartGate and this week's milestone was reached sooner than expected. Customs set a target of three million passengers per year by 2015 and is well on its way to meet this goal.

"The Government is committed to making it easier and faster for travellers at the border through the use of technology," Mr Williamson says.

More than 54,000 travellers to and from New Zealand took advantage of SmartGate last week. It was used by 65.5 per cent of eligible arriving passengers and 53 per cent of eligible departing passengers.

"The eligible age for SmartGate was lowered in January from 18 to 16.  The number of sports teams and young people using it these school holidays shows they are embracing this technology," Mr Williamson says.

SmartGate uses the electronic information in ePassports and facial recognition technology to perform customs and immigration checks.