7 Apr 2015

Travel agency backs 10-year passport

10:35 am on 7 April 2015

A return to 10-year passports makes practical sense particularly for frequent travellers, a leading travel agency says.

New Zealand passport

Photo: 123rf

Security fears after the 9/11 attacks in the United States led to the lifespan of passports being cut to five years.

Prime Minister John Key said officials would prefer it to remain at five years but the Government thought it should be extended to 10 years for convenience.

House of Travel's Brent Thomas said five-year passports have been a problem for many people.

"Effectively the passport only lasts four years, six months, because the validity period has to be open for another six months after travel," he said.

"There's a number of people - you'd be surprised how many - who get down to the last few minutes and suddenly look at their passport and go, 'It's just about to expire, what do I do?'"

Five-year passports were introduced to New Zealand in 2005, on the grounds that allowing them to be changed frequently to keep up with fast-improving security technology would make them secure against theft or fraud.

The issue was reviewed late last year by diplomat and public servant Simon Murdoch.

Cabinet is expected to consider the matter in the next few weeks.