SmartGate proves a success story   26 Mar 2010

New Zealand Government - The SmartGate automated passenger processing facility at Auckland Airport has just celebrated another major milestone, Customs Minister Maurice Williamson announced today.

"Just three months after the Prime Minister launched this cutting-edge technology system, we’ve already had 100,000 people processed through it. The system has outperformed everyone’s expectations," Mr Williamson says.

“New Zealanders have rapidly taken to this new technology and as many as 50 per cent of eligible passport holders are now using SmartGate."

Mr Williamson says this uptake compares very favourably with Australia which has taken three years to achieve a similar level of uptake to what New Zealand achieved in just three months.

"The self-processing ability has proved popular with a wide age range of people. For example, last week 94 people aged between 74 and 80 years old successfully used SmartGate kiosks. We are also satisfied with the security aspects. It recently recognised identical twins who had swapped identities.

"This system has made the arrivals process much quicker, and gives visitors a more positive first impression of New Zealand as a travel destination," Mr Williamson says.

SmartGate uses face recognition biometric technology and the information stored in the microchip inside ePassports to perform the identity check that is usually conducted by a Customs officer.

The system is already operating at most international airports in Australia for arriving New Zealand and Australian ePassport holders. It will be available to passengers arriving into Wellington from about June and in Christchurch from about November this year. Work is also underway to introduce SmartGate into the departures process with implementation planned for Auckland at the end of this year.

The implementation of SmartGate has been managed by Customs with the involvement of other border agencies.

ENDS

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