10-year NZ passports could return - at a cost

MIXED NEWS: Looks like there'll be a cost to moving to a 10-year passport.
MIXED NEWS: Looks like there'll be a cost to moving to a 10-year passport.

Ten-year passports are a step closer to returning after an official review was announced today, but they could cost more for travellers in fees.

Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne announced the validity period review would include an independent examination of passport security and a review of costs, with a view to returning to 10-year passports.

The review was recommended by a select committee after reviewing the petition of Kyle Lockwood, a New Zealander living in Melbourne, to have 10-year passports reinstated.  

The petition, signed by 15,900 people, was submitted to Parliament in February.

New Zealand moved from 10-year to five-year passports in 2005.

The Government and administration committee could not reach a conclusion on whether to retain a five-year validity period or move to 10 years, but said the move to biometric passports had increased their security.

Dunne said the Government agreed with that view, and advances in technology continued to diminish the risk passports could be falsified.

"It is therefore timely to investigate whether security features in the passport need to be refreshed every five years as opposed to a 10-year interval," he said.

Dunne wanted an assurance that any security issues raised by moving to a longer validity period were properly addressed.

The Department of Internal Affairs would also review passport costs, as returning to a 10-year validity period could lead to a rise in fees.

"Moving to a 10-year passport could lead to higher upfront passport fees as revenue would decline from processing passports on a less frequent basis," Dunne said.

Any changes recommended when the reviews were complete in December would be presented to Cabinet, he said.  

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