20 Dec 2011

NZ urged to examine passport aid to Vanuatu

1:45 pm on 20 December 2011

A former Vanuatu cabinet minister, Joe Natuman, says New Zealand should re-examine its passport aid to Vanuatu.

Last year, New Zealand provided aid to Vanuatu to build a new passport building in the capital, Port Vila, with technology to make passports of high international standard.

The New Zealand government said the new system would stop the practice of government ministers dishing out diplomatic passports to foreign nationals but Mr Natuman says the practice is continuing.

And he says recent amendments to the Passport Act will allow corrupt politicians to sell passports for personal gain.

"It is not good for the New Zealand government. The New Zealand government insisted we have this legislation, which currently is for Vanuatu's security and Vanuatu's integrity and now these people are playing around with it. New Zealand should think seriously about its aid to the passport office."

Joe Natuman says if Vanuatu wants to sell passports it should be done transparently and legally.