The Government will fast track visa applications for a Chinese airline's frequent flyer cardholders despite concerns expressed by immigration officials.
Under questioning in Parliament, Immigration Minister Nathan Guy admitted to striking a deal with China Southern Airlines to help frequent flyer gold and silver card holders get visas.
"That is going to allow high net worth individuals to come into New Zealand to ensure that we continue to grow our tourism benefits," Guy said.
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A memo released under the Official Information Act shows an immigration official has raised concerns.
Green Party immigration spokesperson Jan Logie said: "Guy should listen to the advice from his officials over the China Southern Airlines deal".
New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters agrees, saying that the move will compromise security.
Peters said in the memo released under the OIA the immigration official said: "The risk of, and I quote, 'imported criminality from China is being' quotes 'ignored in visa decision making'."
But the Immigration Minister is promising that there will be security checks.
"They will need to get a visa, they will still need to meet health and good character checks."
The Immigration Minister says the process "will be reviewed on a monthly basis to ensure that is robust and that it is working as intended".
China Southern Airlines is planning to fly in 250 travel agents from China to New Zealand in December.