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New Fees for Identity Products and Services

New Fees for Identity Products and Services effective from 1 September 2003

The Department of Internal Affairs will introduce new fees for passport, citizenship and births, deaths and marriages effective from Monday 1 September 2003. The new fees, which include some increases and some reductions, were announced on 11 July.

General Manager Identity Services for the Department of Internal Affairs, Annette Offenberger, says the new fees structure is intended to reflect changes in costs of products and services.

“The new fees structure sees some products and services reducing in price while others will increase. All the new fees will bring our prices closer to the true cost of providing the different services.

“Reductions in some fees are due to greater efficiencies in the processing of applications. This is the case, for example, with the passport, which has reduced in price to $71 for adults and $36 for children. Some other fees will be increasing. In the case of citizenship the higher fee reflects in part the added security checking in processing applications,” says Annette Offenberger.

Public feedback was sought about the new fees structure last year, with individuals and organisations invited to make submissions. “The submissions were considered before the new fees were agreed and announced in July,” says Annette Offenberger.

Information about the fee changes is provided on our respective websites www.bdm.govt.nz; www.citizenship.govt.nz and www.passports.govt.nz This information has been accessible since the announcement in July.

People can also access information through our Freephone numbers.

Attached: New Fees Schedule effective 1 September 2003

Questions and Answers

NEW FEES FOR IDENTITY PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Q1. Why are fees changing? Why are some increasing and others decreasing? The fees are changing because we are required to recover the cost of providing products and services to customers and these costs change over time. The new fees structure sees some products increasing in price and others decreasing. For example, the fee for a passport application will reduce while the citizenship application fee will increase. This is because the new fees more accurately reflect the cost of providing these products and services.

Q2. Why has the passport fee reduced? We pride ourselves on having one of the best passports in the world with world-class security features. The fee for passports has been reduced to reflect efficiencies that have been developed in the processing of passport applications.

Q3. Do the new fees contribute to cost of developing new services? The new fees make a small contribution to the cost of our new services. These services are progressively being rolled out. The new Births, Marriages and Deaths (BDM) on line index service is expected by mid 2004.

Q4. Genealogists say the new fee for the electronic printout is still too high. Have their concerns been properly addressed? The fee for the micrographic was $30. It has been replaced by a new product called the electronic printout, which costs $20. The $20 fee represents the cost of providing the product. It can be offered at this price because of a more streamlined technological process in providing the product for all but the oldest records. Because the processes involved in producing printouts from records before 1876 are more complex and costly, the fee for these records is $26. These fees like all other BDM fees are set as close as possible to the cost of providing the service. We have consulted with genealogists about the fees for these products.

Q5. What was the consultation process for the new fees? In April last year the Department of Internal Affairs sought public feedback on proposed changes to the fees it charges for identity documents. Individuals and organisations were invited to make submissions. Submissions were considered and reflected in the information given to government in deciding the new fees. Last year’s General Election has had an effect on the timing of the Government’s decision.

Q6. Why did it take so long? With the early General Election in July last year the process was held up. Because the new fees are subject to parliamentary scrutiny the process had to be revisited after the General Election and the formation of Government.

Q7. So the fees have been through the Parliamentary process. What was the result of this? The Regulations Review Committee looked at our proposed fees structure and the process we followed in deciding them. They heard submissions from interested groups and also asked us to appear before them. They have told us they have no further issues to raise at this stage. Cabinet has since approved the new fee regulations. We can now start the process of implementation.

Q8. The new citizenship fee is increasing to $460. Are we putting the cost of citizenship beyond many applicants especially families? With the last fee changes there was an element of subsidy for the Grant of Citizenship. The new fee represents the true cost.

There will be a lower fee for children applying for citizenship, which will reduce the financial impact on families.

The adult citizenship application fee has increased to reflect the increased cost in processing an application for citizenship. A significant component of this increased cost is in the added security checking required in checking applications. This is partly a reflection of a changed international security environment and associated public expectations.

Q9. The marriage fee is increasing again? Is the government putting a financial barrier in the way of marriage? There was an element of subsidy in this product so the fee change for marriage licences now more closely reflects the true cost.

Q10. When you increased the fees in October 2001 you indicated there were unlikely to be fee increases again in the near future. Why then are there more fee changes? After the last fees were introduced we were asked to ensure there was no cross-subsidisation between products and also ensure they reflect their true cost. We were required by Parliament to consult with the public before introducing the new fees structure.

Q11. Genealogists say the new fees are to contribute towards the cost of new services. If this is the case when can they expect to see some of these services such as the on-line index of birth, death and marriage information? The new fees only make a small contribution towards our development programme. The principal reason for the new fees is so we can cover costs now. The new service allowing access to on-line indexes is expected to be available by mid 2004.

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