11 December 2012

Minister accused of misleading parliament over New Zealand visa deal

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Immigration Minister Nathan Guy has been accused of misleading the parliament over a deal he signed with China Southern Airlines to allow frequent flyers quicker access to a New Zealand visa.

New Zealand visa

Leader of the New Zealand First Party Winston Peters has accused Immigration Minister Nathan Guy of misleading the parliament.

The deal was announced last month and was quickly followed by subsequent announcements promising similar New Zealand visa deals for other airlines such as Air New Zealand.

However, Winston Peters, leader of the New Zealand First political party, has accused Mr Guy of misleading parliament over the requirements frequent flyers would need to meet before being eligible for the fast track visa.

Mr Guy had told the parliament that 'visitors must still apply for a visa and meet the good-character and health checks'.

Mr Peters contends that the realities of the deal differ from the statements Mr Guy made to the parliament.

"The fact of the matter is there are no health checks for visitors who are in New Zealand for less than six months, and no character checks for visitors in this country for less than 24 months," said Mr Peters.

"Given that the average stay for a Chinese tourist is five days, there is no way the minister can reconcile his statement to the facts."

Mr Peters has the deal demonstrates the minister's inability to secure the country's borders.

"Allowing tourists to waltz across our borders just because they've racked up a few air miles flying on CSA [China Southern Airline] - which apparently shows they are decent citizens - is simply disingenuous.

"The country is being put at risk by yet another secret government deal struck behind closed doors that allows anybody who is a frequent flier with CSA to enter New Zealand."

The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy that specialises in helping people apply for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa.

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