Sunday Star Times
July 28, 2008

Border control staff will be able to use iris scans and finger printing to check passengers’ identities under major changes to New Zealand immigration rules.

Despite criticism from Amnesty International at the level of secrecy permitted, the changes look set to become law, with the National Party pledging its support.

National Party immigration spokesman Dr Lockwood Smith acknowledged the bill’s provision for using biometric information would be “a little bit controversial” but said it would speed up passenger processing and ultimately benefit New Zealanders.

The bill would simplify visa and appeal processes and legislation would be more in tune with New Zealand’s international obligations.

Smith said he had a “lingering concern” that New Zealand might be unable to deport a “bad egg” due to our obligations under the Convention against Torture, which prevents someone being deported to a country where they might be tortured.

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