Australia, NZ working toward passport-less travel

  • 29/10/2015

New Zealand and Australian officials are discussing the idea of passport-less trans-Tasman travel.

However, there are no formal proposals on the table and it could be a long way off.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop today confirmed it was being considered.

"We're in discussions with New Zealand and if we're able to put in place the appropriate requirements, including security, then it's something we'd like to trial and implement," she told reporters in Melbourne.

Ms Bishop says the idea came out of her department's "ideas challenge" which is part of an innovation push.

The Internal Affairs Department, which handles passports, says it's discussed the idea "at a conceptual level" with Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

"We are not aware of a formal approach by the Australian government to New Zealand regarding cloud passports," Internal Affairs said in a statement.

"It's an interesting idea, which we will continue to watch.

"However, we are not aware of any plans for New Zealand to move this way."

Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne says he's aware of the possibility of a "digital passport" being used for trans-Tasman travel – but it would have to be secure.

He thinks it could be done.

"The comparatively recent advent of SmartGate passport processing means the secure sharing of passport information could be feasible, provided all the necessary security considerations are able to be satisfied and the integrity of the passport regimes of both countries are maintained," he said.