26 Aug 2018

Departure cards to be scrapped

3:34 pm on 26 August 2018

The government is abolishing the need for people to fill out a departure card when leaving the country.

A New Zealand Passenger Departure Card.

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Travellers currently fill out a total of 6.5 million departure cards each year.

But Customs Minister Meka Whaitiri said the cards are no longer needed to account for all people crossing the New Zealand border.

She said they now have smarter systems which can identify information and travel movements electronically.

"Information captured by the departure cards is now mainly used for statistical purposes," Ms Whaitiri said.

"Stats NZ has developed an alternative way to produce migration and tourism statistics, based on actual movements rather than passengers' stated intentions on the departure cards."

"The removal of departure cards will align with international best practice," Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said.

"Few other countries have departure cards with the level of detail required by the New Zealand one.

"This also brings us closer to seamless travel between Australia and New Zealand for the benefit of Trans-Tasman travellers and businesses. Travellers will be able to travel departure card-free on both sides of the Tasman. Australia removed their departure card last year."

The requirement to fill out cards will be end in November.

The Government says it will save more than 100,000 hours of time and allow a faster and smoother process.

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