18 February 2007

Liquids, gels and aerosols

Following recommendations from ICAO in December last year, on 15 February 2007 the Minister of Transport Safety announced that New Zealand is joining a growing list of countries limiting the carriage in the cabin by air passengers of liquids, gels and aerosols. The new restrictions will begin on 31 March 2007. Details are available in a new Flysmart section of our Ministry's web site.

As a consequence the excellent New Zealand Aviation Security Service will again be boosting its staff numbers. I spent around two years part time working on policy and related consultations on how to fund the Service and also passenger border processing activities in an exercise led by my former Treasury colleagues. Air travellers are fortunate in New Zealand that all hold-stow baggage screening for international flights is now efficiently and effectively done out of sight after you have handed your bags in at check-in. In addition, screening points in New Zealand are generally adequately staffed to avoid delays. This was not the case the last time I transited through LAX - a real hassle.

Finally an alternative libertarian view on the aviation security announcement from a former Ministry colleague who writes the Liberty Scott weblog. A cost/benefit analysis would indeed be interesting.

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