6 Apr 2015

Decision soon on 10-year passports

2:35 pm on 6 April 2015

The Government is expected to bring back 10-year passports for New Zealanders.

New Zealand passport

New Zealand passport Photo: 123rf

Five-year passports were introduced in 2005, on the grounds that allowing them to be changed frequently to keep up with fast-improving security technology would make them secure against theft or fraud.

However they have proved unpopular with the public.

The issue was reviewed late last year by a diplomat and public servant Simon Murdoch and Cabinet will consider the report, probably next week.

Prime Minister John Key last week hinted that 10-year passports could return. He told NewstalkZB that "good news is on the way", even though officials would like to stick with five year passports.

Minister of Internal Affairs Peter Dunne received the report before Christmas and is not saying what is in it.

An official in Mr Dunne's office said passports were reduced to a five year validity period in response to a request from the United States Government.

That request came through for security reasons in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington.

But, he said, in the end, the United States itself did not change. Several other countries did, but some have since reverted to 10-year documents.

Union support

The Taxpayers Union is welcoming suggestions that the Government will bring back ten year passports.

But it does not think the price should be higher.

Executive director of the union Jordan Williams said passports here were already more expensive than they were in many other countries, and suggestions that a 10-year passport should be dearer should be resisted.

The matter is expected to go to cabinet this month.