The Prime Ministers of New Zealand and Australia announced an intention to turn trans-Tasman flights into domestic flights. This idea has been on the drawing board since 1992. We'll tell you why there has been no progress.
About five years ago, we published an item of Import News that read:
"My friend Pam is still fuming. On arrival at Auckland airport, she was greeted by a $200 fine, because her shoes had some dirt – from one of Melbourne's better golf courses. You see, Pam's golf shoes are a threat to our 'biosecurity'. She is not alone. Anyone who forgets to declare a kiwi fruit taken from the Koru lounge in Sydney will face the same penalty. Never mind that the fruit was most probably grown right here in New Zealand."
The traces of Melbourne soil in Pam's golf shoes are not a 'biosecurity' risk. The bureaucrats who fined her are not protecting anything, other than their own jobs.
The Prime Ministers are right. The only way to progress the domestic trans-Tasman initiative is to take it away from MAF. We have put up with their self-interested nonsense for far too long. Customs in both countries should accept an export declaration in one country as a provisional clearance into the other. It is perfectly possible to run a country without passenger departure cards. And you can't overcome 150 passengers and hijack a plane with nail scissors or tubes of toothpaste.