14 May 2009

Tourism head says don't charge travellers for biometric screening

8:33 am on 14 May 2009

The tourism industry says the cost of a new airport security system should not be passed on to travellers.

Legislation that would allow immigration officials to collect biometric data, such as fingerprints and face scans, at airports is nearing its third and final reading in Parliament.

Tourism Industry Association chief executive Tim Cossar says the Immigration Bill does not address who is going to pay for the technology.

He says any further levies on travellers would be hugely damaging to tourism.

Mr Cossar says scanning at airports should avoid being disruptive for travellers expecting a warm welcome to the country.

Immigration New Zealand says iris scans, fingerprints or photos of the face are all options being looked at.

It says a biometric system could be working in airports by 2011 if the bill passes its third reading.