New Zealand announce plan to scrap departure cards at airports

AFTER wasting 100,000 hours of our time every year, New Zealand is finally doing something it should have done a long time ago.

news.com.auAugust 27, 20183:24pm

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      New Zealand is finally ditching its airport departure cards. Picture: iStockSource:istock

      WHEN all you want to do is check in for your flight, breeze through security and hopefully squeeze in some duty-free shopping, filling in the passenger departure card is a nuisance.

      It’s a whole thing. You have to find somewhere to lean on while you write. And also, a pen. Then you have to fumble for your passport, because no one actually remembers their passport number and dates of issue and expiry, and then your boarding pass, because you’ve already forgotten the flight number.

      Thankfully for us, Australia axed the annoying outgoing passenger cards last year. New Zealand said it would stick with them — but now, they’ve finally given up on the obsolete forms, too.

      On Sunday, New Zealand confirmed the departure cards, which all passengers had to complete when flying out of New Zealand, would be gone in November.

      New Zealand's outgoing passenger cards will be consigned to history in November.

      New Zealand’s outgoing passenger cards will be consigned to history in November.Source:istock

      “This will improve the experience of all travellers departing New Zealand, enabling a faster and smoother process ahead of the busy holiday period,” Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said on Sunday.

      “It will also save more than 100,000 hours of time currently spent by travellers completing more than 6.5 million departure cards per year.”

      New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern flagged the possible demise of the departure card when she spoke at the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum in Sydney in March.

      Delegates discussed how the forms, which have been around for about 97 years, were unnecessary and didn’t allow trans-Tasman travel to be as seamless as it could be.

      Mr Lees-Galloway said the move would bring New Zealand into line with most other countries that had already kicked the departure cards to the kerb.

      Australia bid farewell to the outgoing passenger card in June 2017. Picture: Supplied

      Australia bid farewell to the outgoing passenger card in June 2017. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

      And when they were finally abolished in November — no specific date yet — outgoing travellers would be able to travel between Australia and New Zealand without having to fill out a card on either end.

      Mr Lees-Galloway said the main advantage would be saving travellers time.

      “It removes an inconvenience which isn’t necessary anymore,” he said. “It’s time for them to go.”

      The cards had mainly been used for statistical purposes and from November, Statistics NZ would switch to a new system for capturing data, stuff.co.nz reported.

      But officials said arrival cards, on the other hand, would remain, as they were necessary for assessing immigration and biosecurity risks.

      Outgoing Passenger Cards disappeared from Australian airports in June last year, following complaints about their obsolescence.

      The Australian Government said the cards were no longer relevant as it could access passenger information from other sources.

      Passengers entering Australia still need to fill out incoming passenger cards however, there have been talk they could be the next to go, along with traditional passports.

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