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Sio: National Rushed 'smartgate' Into Action For A Photo Op

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Official documents have revealed the Government rushed the "Smartgate" electronic passport control system into New Zealand's airports against the advice of three Government departments, Labour's customs spokesperson Su'a William Sio said today.

"Despite warnings from the Department of Labour, Treasury and the State Services Commission, Customs Minister Maurice Williamson approved the purchase of Smartgate," Su'a William Sio said.

"The three departments had serious concerns around whether the Smartgate system offered value for money and was the best technology to meet the future challenges of border control.

"But it seems they were all ignored because Prime Minister John Key asked officials to 'give highest priority to advancing the integration of trans-Tasman border clearance'.

"Official documents show despite reservations about Smartgate, its purchase and implementation was rushed so John Key could announce its introduction at a meeting with the Australian Prime Minister last August.

"The security of our borders is paramount, but the evidence suggests on this occasion the chance of a positive headline and a photo-op drove the decision.

"There were concerns about whether taxpayers were getting value for money, and whether this system was up the rigours of the changing needs of border security. The process on this occasion was not good enough."

"National fought tooth and nail for six months to prevent the release of documents which revealed this shambles to the public. Kiwis expect and deserve better from their Government," Su'a William Sio said.

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