03 March 2009

PMs of Australia, NZ want domestic-style flights between their ports

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In the lead-up to the G20 meeting in April, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd have met in Sydney to discuss how their two economies can benefit from closer ties.

According to ABC News, both leaders agree that tourism would benefit from relaxing customs and immigration laws in both countries, so that travel for Australian and New Zealand nationals can be smoother and faster.

The changes would mean that travellers would pass security checks at the point of departure and would be able to exit through domestic-style ports upon arrival, meaning they would not have to face further security checks.

"It involves security questions, immigration questions, customs questions, quarantine questions ... so that someone jumping on a plane here in Australia going to New Zealand goes through one set of arrangements and then can jump off in New Zealand at a domestic terminal and then the reverse for New Zealand travellers coming to Australia," Mr Rudd said.

According to Radio NZ News, both Prime Ministers have agreed to push the issue within their departments, so they can make a decision on the initiative within a year.  Mr Rudd claims discourse surrounding the issue has floated around since 1992. 

Currently, Australia and New Zealand nationals have visa-free travel across the Tasman, meaning that New Zealanders can holiday, work, and live permanently in Australia without a visa for Australia, and vice versa.


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