Thousands of Kiwis are at risk of holiday disruptions because of the Government’s failure to fulfil passport applications, National’s Internal Affairs spokesperson Todd Muller says.
“School’s out for the winter holidays, but 40,000 New Zealanders are still waiting for passports to be processed with no clear indication when they will be received.
"This is causing major anxiety for many Kiwis hoping to visit family and friends overseas for the first time in years.
“One in five applicants have had to make urgent passport applications because of fears they won’t receive it in time, while others have been entirely unable due to difficulties applying online or contacting passport offices.
“Labour had months to prepare for an increase in passport demand after announcing New Zealand’s border reopening steps in February. However, instead of ensuring they could meet the inevitable increase in applications, the Government made a $33m reduction in funding for passport services.
"According to Internal Affairs Minister Jan Tinetti, this is because Labour couldn’t see this surge in passport demand coming.
"Kiwis are now contacting National MPs and asking for support because the Department of Internal Affairs and Labour have been so unresponsive.
"The Minister is still blaming Covid-19 for her Department’s unbelievable lack of delivery. In reality, it was her short-sightedness, and Kiwis are now paying the price.
"For more than two years, Labour prevented Kiwis from being able to come home, and now they are preventing Kiwis from leaving."