"If it were possible to stack $20.8 million in $1 coins, it would form a pile nearly 57 km high, far loftier than Mt Aoraki's mere 3.7 km height" joked Kyle Lockwood, Spokesman for NZten.com, a group advocating for the return of 10-year Passports.
"There's enough money there to provide about 167,000 passports for free, despite the law clearly stating that NZ Passports cannot be issued at surplus, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Chris Tremain, keeps telling New Zealanders that 5-year passports do not make surpluses. However buried in a report few people read, it's there in black and white, a surplus of $20.8 million, a direct result of the introduction of 5-year passports".
Kyle Lockwood has been battling with the Minister since January to open up passport validity for consultation with the New Zealand public. "However despite most OECD nations having 10-year passports, and the majority of a select committee agreeing, in 2005, that five-year passports should not be introduced, the Government, without consultation with the NZ public, went ahead and introduced 5-year passports anyway".
NZten has launched a petition to the House of Representatives, to reintroduce 10-year passports for New Zealanders, which can be downloaded at http://www.nzten.com/petition