Passports Amendment Bill (No 2) - Second reading

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

STUART SMITH: Well, this Passports Amendment Bill (No 2), speaking from someone who has done a lot of business travelling, is going to be a great thing—to be able to have a passport for 10 years.

It is quite infuriating, having just 3 or 4 years ago replaced my passport and then turn up in the US, as I travelled through there quite frequently, and to the UK, to have your biometric photograph and your fingerprint. Every time you go through the US, you line up and get all that, and you wonder why on earth we have to have a passport renewed every 5 years.

So I understand the background as to why we went to a 5-year passport; however, the rest of the world did not go along with us, so it was time for a change.

I know the previous speaker stated just before that it would have been good to have done this a few months ago and then people who have just renewed their passports would not have had to go through the process. But, of course, you would have to keep going back and back, and there will always be people who renewed their passport the month before who would be quite annoyed about it. But that is just the nature of the beast.

I think it is a fantastic Christmas present that is coming up for New Zealanders to have this ability to get a 10-year passport when their renewal comes up, and also to do it at a much reduced cost over that 10-year period of $90-odd, I believe. I think that is a great thing for everyone, and really it is good sense to get good law and good security and all the latest features that are going to be on these passports.

Really, security is so important around the world, and we have to have the best travel documentation to ensure that we do have that and we meet our security obligations around the world. It is not just ourselves who we are looking after; it is the rest of the world. Someone alluded to it before that our passport is the eighth-most desirable passport in the world. That is something I learnt this evening, and we are ahead of the Australians on that. You can understand why.

Hon David CunliffeHon David Cunliffe160: Auctioning them?

STUART SMITH: No, we are not auctioning them, but we could auction off a few Opposition MPs, although we would not get much for them, I suspect.

It is with great pleasure, on that note, seeing as we cannot get a bid for the Opposition MPs, that I commend the bill to the House. Thank you.