Fewer passports, lower costs?

The return to 10-year passports is welcome but like the Taxpayers’ Union executive director, Jordan Williams, queries why this could mean they become more expensive:

“If the validity of Kiwi passports is doubled to 10 years, our report on the cost of New Zealand passports shows that a price hike is still unjustified.”

“Even at the current price, New Zealanders would still pay more for a 10-year passport than the average citizen in our trading partners.”

“Last year we exposed the Government for sitting on a whopping surplus from passport fees. Passport fees should be set to recover the cost and not a dollar more. If Mr Key is being advised that a price hike is needed, clearly New Zealand officials are doing a much poorer job than our trading partners in running an efficient operation that allows citizens the basic ability to travel.”

If passports last for 10 years there will be fewer renewals to process.

That ought to require fewer staff and less office space and that ought to result in cost savings which ought to be passed on in lower fees.

With a smaller population we won’t have the economies of scale bigger countries do but fees for 10 year passports should be closer to $135 than $270.

Fees for passports should reflect a fair cost recovery and not be designed to make an excessive profit.

While giving a brickbat to the suggestion of a fee hike, I must also deliver a bouquet for very fast processing by the passport renewal office.

I renewed my passport on-line last week.

That process took me longer than it should have because I didn’t have a photo of the required 5ookb and had to get a professional to take one and email it to me.

However, once I had the photo the rest of the process was simple and when I submitted the application I got an immediate acknowledgement from the Department of Internal Affairs.

That email was sent at 6:55 last Tuesday evening and told me it could take 10 working days to process my application.

I got a second email at 4:54pm on Thursday informing me my new passport had been dispatched.

That is very good service and while I haven’t received the new passport yet that is due to Easter holidays, not the passport office.





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