Future cost of passports questioned

By Maiki Sherman

The cost of passports could be set at around $400 if the Government decides not to inject an extra $200 million into proposed changes.

Cabinet has approved doubling the lifespan of passports from five years, increasing the cost from $135 to $180.

However, according to Treasury advice, setting the fee at $180 would not cover the costs that would come from the proposed changes.

Cabinet papers show the Government would need to inject an extra $200 million, or double the cost of passports to about $400, from 2021.

However, Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne has gone against the recommendation, saying the cost of passports must be affordable.

“I want the New Zealand passport to remain affordable for the travelling public, while retaining the high level of service and quality the Department of Internal Affairs provides. This includes continuing to heavily subsidise child passports through adult passports fees, to ensure passports remain affordable to families,” he said.

The Government has implemented a capital injection of $20 million to cover costs until July 2018.

Peter Dunne says with technology evolving the costs would not necessarily go up to $400 in six years.

The 10-year passports are expected to take effect at end of this year.