30 November 2012

Second airline in talks for New Zealand visa deal

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Air New Zealand has confirmed it is in talks with the government over striking a deal to allow wealthy Chinese visitors to secure a New Zealand visa quickly.

New Zealand visa

Air New Zealand is reportedly seeking a deal to allow Chinese visitors quick access to visas.

The news comes just weeks after China Southern Airlines secured a deal with Immigration Minister Nathan Guy to offer frequent flying Chinese visitors the ability to quickly secure a New Zealand visa.

The deal proved controversial with critics arguing it showed favouritism but Prime Minister John Key, who also serves as tourism minister, defended the deal, promising that the arrangement 'will be in place for other airlines like Air New Zealand'.

And now it would appear as though the prime minister has fulfilled his promised with an Air NZ spokesperson confirming that the airline has 'expressed an interest in a similar arrangement to the Government, which has confirmed a willingness to talk'.

The rise of the Chinese middle class in recent years has produced millions of first time tourists and New Zealand joins the likes of the US, the UK and Australia in making changes to immigration policy to accommodate them.

China Southern Air's deal allows frequent Chinese visitors to New Zealand to secure a new visa through a streamlined process which will require fewer checks to verify their credentials, particularly their wealth.

"That is because they will have travelled 40,000 kilometres with China Southern Airlines, and on that basis one can assume they are a reasonable high net worth individual," said the prime minister.

While Air New Zealand was not forthcoming on the details of any deal, it is thought the national airline will begin daily flights to Shanghai as well as increased connections between Hong Kong through a deal with Cathay Pacific.

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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