Passports to return to 10 years

The Herald reports:

New Zealanders are set to enjoy 10-year once again – but at a price.

It is understood the Cabinet will decide in the next few weeks to extend the passport validity period, which was reduced to five years in 2005.

This will require an amendment to the Passports Act, and is likely to lead to higher fees for renewing a passport.

Prime Minister John Key said officials wanted the validity period to remain at five years. But he hinted that the Government would go against their advice and revert to 10-year passports.

Good. This is why we don’t just have officials determine things. 5 year passports make things easier for officials, but a major hassle for travellers.

Mr Key has previously warned that a return to 10- year passports is likely to lead to higher fees because revenue from processing the documents will fall. At present, it costs $135 to renew a passport. Analysis by the Taxpayers’ Union showed that fee was more expensive than nearly every other comparable country.

They should be done on a cost recovery basis. It is worth noting that there is a growing surplus in the passport fund at the moment.

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