Lifespan of NZ passport doubles Lifespan of NZ passport doubles
NZ passport to cost $180 from 1 January 2016; critics claim that it is expensive compared to other Western nations Lifespan of NZ passport doubles

Parliament passes bill to increase passports’ validity from five to ten years.

By Mel Fernandez,

WELLINGTON – It’s official – the 10-year New Zealand passport is back, thanks to the unanimous voting in Parliament that passed the Passports Amendment Bill (No 2). From November 30 Kiwis can apply for the new passport, a month earlier than the original implementation date.

The current 5-year passport costs $135. “The 10-year adult passport price will be $180 (including GST), an average saving of more than $90 over the 10-year validity period,” says Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne.

“Because a child’s appearance can change significantly over time the child passport will remain valid for five years, as is international convention,” he adds.

The Taxpayers’ Union (TU) sees the return of the 10-year passports as a positive step, but points out that it’s still quite pricey. “Currently New Zealanders have the most expensive passport in the world, with Australians a close second,” claims the TU’s Executive Director Jordan Williams. “The new $180 price is still above average when compared to other Western nations.”

The five-year validity term was introduced in 2005 to maintain high levels of security. It was a knee-jerk reaction to security concerns after the 2001 terrorist attacks in the US. Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne told parliament that a review showed that security features had strengthened considerably since 2005 when the passports were changed.

“In the current climate of international uncertainty it is essential that 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 New Zealanders 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 that is entirely online.

“While it is expected that there will be an initial surge in applications from November 30, the department will be sufficiently resourced to ensure that current processing times will be maintained.”

Questions and answers:
1. When can I apply for a 10-year adult passport?
From 30 November 2015 when the new law takes effect.

2. My five-year passport runs out before 30 November; can I apply for a 10-year adult passport earlier?
No. The first day you can apply for a 10-year adult passport will be 30 November 2015.

3. What happens if I apply for an adult passport before 30 November 2015?
You will receive a five-year passport. Passports will remain with a five-year validity until the law takes effect.

4. I extend my existing five-year adult passport into a 10-year adult passport?
No. If you want a ten-year adult passport then you must apply from 30 November 2015 onwards.

Mel Fernandez