The key is that the Passport Memorandum Account should not build up a large surplus again. It went up to $27 million three years ago and is now down to $20 million. It really should end up close to zero.
I’ve been advised me that the surplus in the account is in fact now very close to zero. I understand the Minister, Peter Dunne, has written to a newspaper and said:
That surplus has now been expended.
Hopefully the surplus has been expended due to the reduction in fees, rather than an increase in costs!
I have to say though that the extra security features that allow me to use Smart Gate in Australia and New Zealand are very valuable to me as a frequent traveler. Previously I would wait between 5 and 45 minutes to get through passport control. Now in these two countries I generally get through in around 30 seconds. Never had to wait more than say three minutes.