10 year passports available in time for Christmas holidays
Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne today welcomed the passage of the Passports Amendment Bill (No 2), which will enable adult New Zealanders to be issued with a passport that is valid for 10 years instead of the existing five year validity period. The new 10-year passport will be available in approximately six weeks from 30 November 2015.
“Ten-year validity 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 average price of an adult passport for New Zealanders. The 10-year adult passport price will cost no more than $180 (including GST), an average saving of $90 over the 10 year validity period (the average price of two five year adult passports over ten years including one renewal is approximately $270)”, says Mr Dunne.
Because a child’s appearance can change significantly over time, the child passport will remain valid for five years as is international convention.
Mr Dunne said once the policy decision was made to move to 10 year passports, the enabling legislation moved quickly through Parliament.
“I want to thank all parties in Parliament for their support in expediting this legislation so all New Zealanders could benefit from this change sooner rather than later. I am also pleased that the hard work by the Department of Internal Affairs in preparing to introduce the 10 year validity period has enabled the 30 November implementation date. While it is expected there will be an initial surge in applications from that date, the Department will be sufficiently resourced to ensure current processing times will be maintained, particularly the faster processing of online applications.”
Mr Dunne said the reputation of the New Zealand passport would not be affected by the change to a 10-year validity period.
“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 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 entirely online.
“Currently over 40 per cent of adult renewal applications are submitted online. We are looking to extend the online service to child renewals and first-time adult applicants in the future.”
“I also 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 passport service provides. This includes continuing to subsidise child passports through adult passports fees, to ensure passports remain affordable to families.
“There has not been an increase 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.