New transit visa requirements bureaucracy gone mad

Green Party MP Keith Locke has criticised the new requirements for people passing through New Zealand airports to get a transit visa.

“This requirement creates an unnecessary bureaucratic nightmare for travellers from poorer countries,” says Mr Locke.

“Those from richer countries, with a visa-free status in New Zealand, won’t have worry about the changes.

“Already those travelling to and from most Pacific Islands have to get a transit visa, making travel via New Zealand airports less attractive.

“The new requirement of transit visas for those travelling to any other destination (bar Australia) makes matters worse.

“Tourists travelling via Auckland from southern Asia, China, Indonesia, and Thailand and most African countries will now need an extra visa.

“They might not bother, and go via another route.

“Some will choose to travel via another country — with Auckland International Airport and Air New Zealand the losers.

“The new measures will make Auckland less attractive as a hub airport.

“The move is not justified on security grounds. The danger posed by a passenger spending a few hours in a transit lounge at Mangere airport is minimal. What is the worst they can do? Vandalise a coffee machine?”