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The cost of an adult passport has increased by $8 and is set to go up by a further $16 over the next two years. From yesterday, the cost of a New Zealand passport increased from $191 to $199 and from $111 to $115 for children.
Internal Affairs Minister Jan Tinetti announced the new costs this week, following a department review.
The increased cost was due to fewer New Zealanders renewing travel documents over the past two years, along with other factors. Annual renewals dropped from 730,000 a year before the pandemic to just 150,000 in 2020/21.
The cost of administration would have to be passed on to fewer passport holders. The Department of Internal Affairs said the increases were in line with those made by Australia, Canada and the United States.
By May 2023 the cost of an adult passport will be $206, increasing to $215 by 2024.
Children's passports will also be marked up by $6 and will increase by $10 in May 2024, to $125. Adult books are valid for 10 years, and children's passports expire after 5 years.
"Cabinet has decided to go with the smallest incremental increases between 2022 and 2024 that was presented to it, in order to avoid a more significant one off increase," Tinetti said.
While the increase was necessary, Tinetti said the government was "keeping the increase to a minimum and returning the passport service to full cost recovery."
Although the price increase makes travel more expensive for New Zealanders, other countries pay far more for their passports.
Australia has one of the world's most expensive passports. It costs $308 to renew an adult Australian passport for 10 years.
In a survey by ParkSleepFly of 48 of the world's most used passports, Australia was ranked in the bottom six for value. Ranking passports by their cost, countries granting visa-free travel and years of validity, there is a huge discrepancy in the value of travel documents.
In Europe, Lichtenstein was found to be one of the least cost-effective travel documents, costing $414.22 for most of the same travel rights that Swedish passport holder would be granted for a mere $65 - the second -owest cost of renewing an adult passport.
However, the best value passport in the world belongs to the UAE, as an Emirati passport grants visa-free access to 175 countries for just $21. However, considering there are only 1.1 million UAE citizens compared to an expatriate population of 9 million, the proportion of people eligible to apply for one is minuscule.
At the bottom of the passport pile is the Syrian passport, which grants visa-free access to just 29 countries at $925.35. Inflation-hit Lebanon was found to be fast closing with the world's most expensive passport ($1226.09 for 10 years) granting visa free access to 41 countries.
New Zealand was middle of the table at 29th for value granting instant access to 186 countries.