14 Nov 2012

Chinese flight deal questioned

8:49 pm on 14 November 2012

Immigration Minister Nathan Guy says a new deal with a Chinese airline will make it easier for high-value Chinese tourists to visit New Zealand.

Mr Guy's office released a statement on the deal after New Zealand First leader Winston Peters revealed it in Parliament.

Frequent flyers on China Southern Airlines won't have to produce evidence of having enough money to support themselves in New Zealand.

Mr Peters accused the minister of compromising the integrity of New Zealand's visa system through the deal.

He quoted leaked memos from Immigration New Zealand which highlight concerns that the fast-tracking system could risk importing criminality.

The minister says he wasn't aware of the issues raised in the memo from June this year, because the deal hasn't been rolled out yet.

He says when it is, it will be reviewed on a monthly basis to ensure that it is robust, and it is working as intended.

Mr Guy says clients of the airline still need to get visas, and pass health and good character checks.