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System Upgrade Speeds Up Passport Processing

Illustration: IWK

Acting Internal Affairs Minister David Seymour announced that wait times for passports are decreasing, with the Department of Internal Affairs (the Department) reporting the highest ever monthly figure for digital uptake in passport applications.

“As of Friday, 5 July, the passport application queue has reduced by 34.4 per cent - a reduction of 18,557 from a peak of 53,847 at the beginning of May,” said Seymour.

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The significant system upgrade implemented in March, the most substantial in over a decade, has already made online passport applications more accessible for New Zealanders.

“The Government has made steady progress in reducing wait times,” Seymour stated. “The Department has established a dedicated team, reallocated more staff to address the issue, and is regularly monitoring and tuning the new system to enhance efficiency. Additional support and training for staff across domestic and international sites have also been provided.”

Seymour acknowledged the efforts of Brooke van Velden, the previous Internal Affairs Minister, in managing the situation. The March upgrade to the passport processing software caused unexpected delays, creating significant stress for Kiwis planning international travel. Minister van Velden requested ongoing updates to resolve the issue.

In June, the Department issued 43,488 passports, nearly 6,000 more than the number of applications received. It exceeded its goal of issuing 75 per cent of passports within six weeks, achieving 77 per cent within the timeframe. For July, it is expected that 75 per cent of passports will be issued within two weeks and 95 per cent within six weeks. By the end of August, over 90 per cent of passports are expected to be processed within two weeks.

While the percentage of applications issued within two weeks in June was 32 per cent, below the 50 per cent target, this occurred amidst record numbers of digital applications.

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