18 May 2004

NZ foreign minister doubts benefits of passport sales

11:43 am on 18 May 2004

The New Zealand foreign minister, Phil Goff, has re-stated his opposition to the concept of selling passports following last week's reports that an Auckland businessman is attempting to get Pacific island countries to do so.

Bruce Porteous approached the authorities in Niue authorities to sell passports to South Koreans despite New Zealand being the country which issues passports to Niueans.

In the past, countries such as Tonga, the Marshall Islands and Nauru have sold passports.

Mr Goff says while independent countries can do that, they may devalue all their passports and make travel for its citizens more difficult.

"As sovereign countries, of course, they have the right to do whatever they want, but our advice would always be that the downside of becoming involved in such a scheme is often greater than any benefits they might hope to get from it."

Phil Goff, New Zealand's foreign minister