TV One’s Breakfast this morning had the Minister of Internal Affairs, Peter Dunne, interviewed about the figures provided in the briefing paper we released yesterday.
Mr Dunne told Rawdon Christie that the profits the Government has made from passports have “been returned to people via a lower fee” (click here to watch the interview).
Mr Dunne is wrong. Our paper shows that New Zealanders are getting the worst deal in the world for a passport. In fact, Mr Dunne’s is sitting on $20.8 million dollars of passport fee profits which are, in effect, a tax on getting a New Zealand passport. That isn't 'cost recovery', it's a 'cost plus' model.
Come on Mr Dunne, stop taxing Kiwis for a passport and bring us into line with the rest of the world by lowering the fees and reintroducing ten year passports.
This morning the Taxpayers' Union is appearing before the Government Administration Select Committee, in support of a petition to reintroduce ten year passports for New Zealanders.
We will also be presenting a briefing paper by Jordan McCluskey, 'Sky High: Briefing paper on passport affordability'.
Contrary to statements made by the Government, most of our trading partners issue ten, not five year passports.
In 2005 the Government introduced biometric technology to passports, made them more expensive and reduced their validity from ten to five years.
Our research shows that the New Zealand passport is now the most expensive in the world on a per year basis. Even if the New Zealand government issued ten year passports, at current prices, New Zealanders would still be paying more than citizens in most countries with whom we traditionally compare ourselves.
Contrary to the Government’s claims that five year passports are necessary for security, New Zealand is swimming against the tide, with Canada, China and the Netherlands all recently increasing their passport validities to ten years.
Kiwi travellers are paying more and getting less. We’re calling on the new Minister of Internal Affairs, Peter Dunne to do the sensible thing and reintroduce ten-year passports.
The research suggests that current regime isn’t about security, it’s about raising money for the Government.
Click "continue reading" to view the report.