23 February 2009
Talks continue to remove international border between Australia and NZ
Plans for making travel between Australian and New Zealand considered as domestic have been rekindled, reports TVNZ.
For two years now, Australian immigration and New Zealand immigration officials have been discussing plans to remove international immigration procedures for Australian and New Zealand nationals travelling between the two countries.
As it stands, the countries have an "Open Skies" agreement that relaxes rules for carriers flying between the two countries, both countries agree that a domestic-style point of entry would be the next step to improving travel between the two countries. Both countries are also part of a visa-waiver agreement that allows New Zealand nationals to travel, live and work in Australia without a visa for Australia, and visa versa.
Air New Zealand, Qantas, Jetstar and Pacific Blue believe the development could result in fares reducing by up to 30 per cent, although the Travel Agents Association of New Zealand disagrees that there would be any changes except an increase in passenger traffic.
Officials are still working through quarantine, security and immigration issues, although to the Canada-US and European immigration systems are being used as models.
"There has to be a lot of work, but we welcome it," said Dunedin International Airport manager John McCall.
Already the Auckland Airport has installed three "smartgate" kiosks, which allow passengers to Australia enter through automated border controls to speed up entry to Australia.
The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with emigrating to Australia.