10-year passports enable reduction in annual costInternal Affairs
Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne says the Government has listened to New Zealanders and adult passports will again be valid for 10 years, once required law changes are made.
“The 10-year validity period gives greater convenience to most adult passport holders, as they will need to renew their passport less frequently. This will also result in a reduction in the annual price of an adult passport for New Zealanders. The 10-year adult passport price will cost $180 (including GST), an average saving of more than $90 over the 10-year validity period.
“Because a child’s appearance can change significantly over time, the child passport will remain valid for five years as is international convention,” says Mr Dunne.
The change to a 10-year passport from the existing five-year passport will require a law change to the Passports Act 1992, and I am aiming to have the change in place by the end of the year. People will be able to apply for an adult passport once the new law comes into effect.
“In the current climate of international uncertainty, it is essential the Government continues to invest in technology and security, as New Zealanders expect their travel document to retain its exceptional levels of trust and integrity.
“We must safeguard the highly trusted international reputation of our passport which allows Kiwis the freedom to visit approximately 170 countries without applying for a visa. Likewise, investing in services that make it more convenient for the travelling public to access their passports is also essential, and unlike our main counterpart countries, we already provide a service for renewing adult passports entirely online.
“We want 70 per cent of the most common transactions with government to be able to be done online by 2017. Online passport renewals are one of those transactions, with more than 40 per cent of adults already renewing their passport online. We are looking to extend the online service to child renewals and first-time adult applicants in the future.
“I want the New Zealand passport to remain affordable for the travelling public, while retaining the high level of service and quality the Department of Internal Affairs provides. This includes continuing to heavily subsidise child passports through adult passports fees, to ensure passports remain affordable to families.
“There has not been a rise in passport price for a decade (other than a small GST rise in 2010). Passport holders have also enjoyed below cost passport fees for the last three years as a result of a surplus in the passport account. This surplus has now been used up.
“The price of the 10-year passport will reflect the need to keep the price affordable for New Zealanders, while production costs are spread over much lower volumes being produced,” says Mr Dunne.
The new passports approved by Cabinet today will come into effect from 31 December 2015.
“This timing is based on a truncated Select Committee consideration of the amending legislation. However, since a Select Committee considered the question of the length of a passport only last year I will be writing to all parties in Parliament to seek their support for a shortened Select Committee consideration period to enable New Zealanders to obtain their new 10-year passports as soon as practicable”, says Mr Dunne.