The Minister of Internal Affairs was questioned by Māori Party Co-leader Tariana Turia regarding NZ passport validity and told Parliament that he will explore increasing NZ passport validity.
"It's good that Mr Tremain is looking at increasing NZ passport validity, but what he proposes is crediting up to nine months onto a five-year passport. This falls far short of the ten-year passport validity adult NZ passport holders used to enjoy" said Kyle Lockwood, spokesperson for nzten.com, a group advocating for the return of ten-year NZ passports.
The minister then stated "Moving to ten years would require a large increase in the passport fees at a time when we have just reduced fees by almost 20 percent." However, according to Mr Lockwood, "What Mr Tremain didn't say is that in 2005, NZ passport fees increased by almost 200% and passport validity was reduced from ten years to five years".
The questioning was concluded by Winston Peters, who tabled a list of First World countries that continue to issue ten-year passports, and a list of Third World countries which included New Zealand, that issued five-year passports.
"After extensive public consultation Canada will be increasing passport validity, from five years to a ten-year biometric passport. Canada will join four other nations, of the Five Nations Passport Group, consisting of Australia, Canada, the UK, and the USA, who issue citizens with ten-year passports. New Zealand is the last remaining country in this group to deny its citizens the option of a ten-year passport. Mr Tremain should be following the example of these other nations and look at adding an extra five years, not a minuscule nine months to NZ passports" concluded Mr Lockwood
nzten.com Issued at Port Louis, Mauritius, Thursday, 21 February 2013.