16 Jun 2009

Minister to seek funds to improve Immigration Service

3:43 pm on 16 June 2009

Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman says he will apply for money in the next Budget to improve the performance of the Immigration Service.

A report by the Office of the Auditor-General has found that 20% of visa and permit decisions made by the service are questionable or poor. Another finding held that the service's main computer system could not even store basic information.

Jonathan Coleman told TVNZ's Q+A programme that he would try to get the money needed to fix these problems. He says the IT system needs $117 million spent on it over four years.

Dr Coleman says he will apply for funds in next year's Budget because New Zealand cannot guarantee its borders are absolutely secure, nor give the quality of service that potential immigrants need.

He says Chinese students wanting to study in Australia get an answer back in two days, but in New Zealand a response takes six weeks.