July 23, 2015 -
The New Zealand government is investing asset sales to fund an additional 29 next-generation SmartGates at its airports, according to a report by the New Zealand Herald.
Customs Minister Nicky Wagner announced the government has allocated more than $6 million from the Future Investment Fund to purchase the extra self-service biometric machines to process passengers using an e-Passport scanner and biometric data.
The government will purchase a total of 29 nine next-generation SmartGates, with nine machines installed this year, and 20 SmartGates to be installed over the next 18 to 24 months, said Wagner.
SmartGates use the data in the e-Passport and facial recognition technology to perform the customs and immigration checks that are usually conducted by a Customs officer.
“The new SmartGates use a faster, more efficient, integrated process that incorporates the passport scanner into the gate, eliminating the kiosk and ticket,” said Wagner. “Passengers scan their passport and step up to the biometric scanner, which is an improvement on the current two-step process.
“With annual passenger numbers expected to increase to nearly 12.7 million by 2019, Customs will be well positioned to manage this increase efficiently and effectively.”
The Future Investment Fund is the result of the billions of dollars the government raised from selling half stakes in power companies, along with a sell down of Air New Zealand shares.
The government previously announced it would use these asset sales cash to fund “high priority future investment” in various assets, such as schools, hospitals and broadband.
In its announced budget for 2015, the government allocated $939 million from the fund, including $244 million on education and $210 million on ultra-fast broadband.
Previously reported, several security experts have recommended that New Zealand upgrades its security to include facial recognition technology at major sporting stadiums.