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Internal Affairs to replace N 379 Series passports

Internal Affairs offers to replace N 379 Series passports

New Zealanders with passports beginning with the number series N379 are to be offered the opportunity to get a replacement passport at no cost. The replacement passport will be valid up to the expiry date of the existing passport.

David Philp, Passports Manager, Department of Internal Affairs, says the replacements are being offered due to recent investigations that uncovered counterfeit New Zealand passports in Thailand being produced using the N379 number.

"We've previously contacted passport holders whose specific passport number appeared to have been affected, and some have taken us up on the offer to replace their passport. It now appears that more passports may be involved, so we're broadening our offer," says David Philp.

"These passports use a valid number series but are total counterfeits. Most of the real passports with these numbers were issued in one week of April 1998.

"We've already alerted border authorities around the world and Interpol about these counterfeits, and they're not sophisticated enough to fool border controls in countries where passport reading systems are used, such as New Zealand and Australia," says David Philp.

He says while the genuine N379 passports are still valid for travel, the replacements are being offered to provide assurance for customers that they will have no unusual delays or problems when using their passport.

"People holding N379 passports can apply for a new passport by getting in touch with our Contact Centre on 0800 22 50 50 or accessing our website on http://www.passports.govt.nz and getting an application form. The full normal application process will apply," says David Philp.

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