Full text of the letter is below, we encourage you to write to your own local MPs asking them to change the act and reinstate 10-year NZ Passports. Full list and contact details for all NZs MPs is below.
Kyle Lockwood, Spokesperson
nzten.com - Aims to reinstate ten-year passports to New Zealand citizens
You can join around 10,000 supporters on Facebook, and sign our petition
Private Bag 18888
23 June 2013
Dear Maggie Barry.
I am writing to you in your capacity as Member for North Shore.
In 2005, the Government passed amendments to the Passport Act 1992, which among other things reduced the validity of all New Zealand travel documents from 10 years to five years. At the time, the Government cited that this was necessary due to security concerns and passport integrity.
Since that time, however, New Zealand along with all other nations that are part of the US Visa Waver programme, has introduced biometric passports – which are considered by the International Civil Aviation Organization to be the most secure travel document available. Further, we note that most OECD nations have 10-year passports, and that the majority of developing countries issue five-year passports. Aside from validity, the passport fee has increased from under $80 prior to the change, to over $150, this, we acknowledge has been reduced late last year in order to reduce the massive surplus in the Passports Memorandum Account, a surplus resulting from the issuance of five-year passports. The current application fee in New Zealand is $140.00 for first time applicants and $134.50 for an adult renewal (offline).
I would like to draw your attention to the considerable inconvenience of having to renew a passport every five years. Many New Zealanders, live abroad for family reasons, while others are on work contracts, or some volunteer at NGOs for long periods in developing nations that do not have the luxury of a postal or courier service, others reside in Europe. Wherever we are located abroad and for whatever reason, the Government in 2005 ensured that every 4.5 years we have to incur the additional expense and loss of time in order to transfer our visas or permits into a new NZ Passport, a measure that this Government is happy to perpetuate. It’s is not surprising that that many born and bred New Zealanders that hold dual citizenship, have ceased renewing their New Zealand passports in favour of passports from their other country of citizenship, because of the needlessly short validity period imposed by the New Zealand Government.
On behalf of our ten thousand supporters, we have written to the Minister for Internal Affairs, seeking his support to open the discussion surrounding passport validity to public consultation, and to amend the Passport Act 1992, in particular s 5(1), to enable the reinstatement of ten year passports. Thus far, the Minister has not been supportive of the initiative, as he prefers to exclude New Zealand citizens by keeping discussions about this matter firmly behind closed doors. Incidentally, the Canadian Government recently undertook extensive public consultation regarding the validity of the Canadian passport and decided to increase passport validity from 5 years to 10 years while introducing biometric passports this year.
Having exhausted all other measures, we seek your support for a Private Members Bill that would reinstate passport validity to 10 years. Our other proposals are outlined overleaf.
I am sure you would agree that what we are proposing, will be of great benefit to all New Zealand Citizens. I thank you for your time and hopefully your support on reintroducing 10-year passports for New Zealand citizens.
Additional proposals – validity and travel documents
We would like to see the New Zealand Passports Office provide the following passport options to New Zealand citizens:
§ 10-year validity for standard 48 page passport
§ The introduction of a ‘frequent traveller passport’ with additional visa pages for all travellers over the age of 16 years of age – similar to the Australian Model which has 64 pages for a higher fee (The standard Australian Passport has 32 pages)
§ Five years validity for child passports.
§ Retain the subsidy for passports for New Zealand citizens under 16 years of age for 48 page passport (current NZ policy)
Documentation for travel to Australia
We have found that many New Zealanders apply for passports and use them exclusively for travel to Australia. We have noted Maurice Williamson, NZ Minister for Customs is ‘on the record’ as saying “New Zealand and Australian governments share the view that travelling across the ditch should be as much like a domestic experience as possible” (NZ High Commission Press Release*)
In line with the Minister’s comments, we propose a 10-year biometric passport card for travel between the Realm of New Zealand, and the Commonwealth of Australia. The US Government have been issuing this type of passport-card to US citizens for land travel between the US and Canada or Mexico. Such a card, if implemented in New Zealand, could be produced at a fraction of the cost of a standard 48 page passport booklet, while maintaining the high security standards expected by both the New Zealand Government and the travelling public.
(Concept New Zealand Passport Card.)
* See the New Zealand High Commission Press Release at http://www.nzembassy.com/australia/news/smartgate-trial-to-streamline-trans-tasman-travel