Does he stand by his statement regarding the new e-passport, “It’s people’s perception of its beauty and its quality and its integrity.”; if so, does he believe the “beauty” and “integrity” of the new e-passport is worth twice as much as the old passport?
Does he believe that New Zealanders view the new passport as being so beautiful that they are happy to pay twice as much for a passport that now lasts half as long as its predecessor; if not, why not?
The rate of applications for new passports at this stage of the year is higher than it was 12 months ago, and any New Zealander who is in a remote part of the world will tell one that the best thing he or she has to guarantee safe passage home is, in fact, his or her New Zealand passport.
I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. That answer clearly did not go anywhere near addressing the question. May I put the question again, please?
The member did address the question, obviously not to the satisfaction of the member.
How did his department come up with the costing for the new passport, which had its price doubled, when he stated that it has an intangible value?
The costing of the passports was done very carefully, and as I have explained to the member before, all of the revenue from the passports will go into a memorandum account. That will be open to public scrutiny, and also to this House, to ensure that the costs attributed to that account are, in fact, fair. If there is any underspend on that, then it will lead to a subsequent reduction in the cost of the New Zealand passport.
How does he reconcile his statement that the new passports have an intangible value, with that of his department’s passport manager, who was able to specify that the cost of the new e-chip was exactly $22?
That particular quote did not actually take into account the full cost of the passport, which is for not just the chip but the encoding systems, the computer systems, and all of the other systems that support the New Zealand passport. To repeat my answer, all the revenue gained by the Crown for the cost of the passports can be spent only on passport matters. The money is deposited into a memorandum account and it can be subject to clear parliamentary scrutiny.
Has the new passport had its physical appearance, such as its colour, changed; if not, why does he believe that the beauty of it has been enhanced so much that it is now twice as expensive as the old passport, which looked virtually identical?
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But I would also make the point that if one wants to compare the cost of a New Zealand passport with another, there is the Australian passport. The Australian passport costs $185 for the same deal. The New Zealand passport is cheaper.