"Stalinist" powers at New Zealand airports
In New Zealand we'll do an "Uncle Sam" style check on you next time you visit us. Proposed legislation to introduce biometric security at our airports is now on the table. The purpose of it is to prevent undesirable people from entering New Zealand. However, civil liberties groups have wasted no time in condemning the proposals as unbridled "Stalinist" powers, and fitting in with never ending security demands from the USA.
Immigration Minister David Cunliffe tabled a 350-page Immigration Bill in Parliament yesterday, describing it as the biggest rewrite of immigration law for two decades.
The bill all but guts the 1987 Immigration Act, slicing the appeals system for would-be refugees and other migrants seeking residency in New Zealand from four tiers to just one.
It provides tough new powers for Immigration New Zealand to imprison for up to six months those who refuse to sign deportation orders, to use classified information held by the Security Intelligence Service (SIS) in assessing applications for entry, and to collect biometric data on all visitors to New Zealand.
New Zealand citizens will be exempt from the requirement to provide biometric data such as fingerprinting and iris scans but will have to submit to a digital scan of their face, which will be compared by computer with an image stored on a microchip in their passport.
Cunliffe said pictures of New Zealanders who were verified would then be deleted.
Only where there was a discrepancy or fraud was suspected would the picture be stored.
Late last year, Cunliffe pledged not to subject Kiwis to iris scans at airports, but he did not mention a digital photograph.