In brief: The trans-Tasman trek is about to become a little smoother for some travellers, with the Australian and New Zealand governments today launching a joint trial of their respective SmartGate systems between Gold Coast and Auckland airports.
The program will run for a full year, through to July 2012, and if all goes smoothly it's likely to be extended to other major airports on both sides of the pond.
Travellers with Australian and New Zealand ePassports (passports with an embedded smartchip) will be able to use each country's respective SmartGate for streamlined customs & immigration checks.
“The New Zealand and Australian governments share the view that travelling across the ditch should be as much like a domestic experience as possible" commented Maurice Williamson, New Zealand Minister for Customs.
Brendan O’Connor, Australian Minister for Home Affairs, says that "both Australia and New Zealand have planned expansions of the program at several of their international airports.”
Read our explanation of how SmartGate works plus tips for using the system.