Someone should tell Winston the flag debate is over already

Changing the New Zealand flag will bring with it a cost of up to $458 million to change passports, according to New Zealand First.

On Thursday, Newshub revealed the Government had no idea what the cost to taxpayers would be to roll out a flag change if the alternative option wins the referendum.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says he has since done some further investigating.

“We asked the Minister of Internal Affairs what would the cost be if every valid New Zealand passport had to be recalled and re-issued,” says Mr Peters.

“The minister replied ‘from $0 to $458,221,788’. So, the cost of changing the passports would be $458 million, but by saying $0 suggests no reissue is contemplated by the Government.

“If the alternative flag was adopted we would have the bizarre situation of having our passports with one flag, and our country with another flag.”

I’m fairly sure that current passports wouldn’t be invalidated by having the “wrong” flag on them. As for everyone wanting them re-issued, the cost won’t be one borne by the government. Winston’s $458m will come out of the pockets of those feeling strongly enough to pay for their passport to be reissued with the new flag on it.? Read more »

$400 for the new 10-year passport. How does that sit with you?

Passport lifespans are doubling to 10 years but the cost of getting one could also double unless the Government spends more than $200 million subsidising the service.

Cabinet papers showed the cost of obtaining a passport needed to increase to $404 by 2021 if no Government money was spent to lower the cost, Radio New Zealand said.

Last month ministers voted in favour of increasing passports’ lifespan from five to ten years.

The Treasury was opposed to the suggested increase from $135, which is what passports cost currently, to $180 because the amount would not cover the cost of producing the passports.

Initially, a fee of $225 was agreed on but after Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne met with Associate Minister Steven Joyce in April, it was decided that a fee of $180 plus a capital injection of $20 million would cover costs until July 2018, Radio New Zealand reported.

Mr Dunne called passports a “common good” and said Government spending was warranted to keep passports affordable.

$40 a year to have an international travel document hardly seems over the top. ? However, for a family to get up-to-date for a 7-night holiday in Surfers, it could cost more to get sorted out than the cost of the flights. ? Read more »

Warrantless surveillance: Hook, line, sinker

The media and opposition appear to have fallen for the standard civil liberties play.

Here is how it goes.

Any reduction of civil liberties will be met by strong opposition. ?That’s a given. ? So, if you want to achieve something, make sure you actually make it sound worse.

After some time, “you’ve listened to the people of New Zealand”, and you withdraw the most contentious issue.

The civil liberty campaigners will see it as a victory, and… voila! ?What you really wanted through … is through.

A classic master class in this was the introduction of “ID card”?driving licenses. ? At the time, they pushed the idea it would become a “national identity card”, and “mandatory photo ID”.

Cue?the civil liberty campaigners… ? after “listening”, the government stepped away from pushing it as far as they originally proposed, and… voila! ? They achieved a photo-id database that was unprecedented at the time. ?Not even passports were that “digitised” at the time.

Incidentally, all these civil liberties people were Missing In Action when all my private data was being intercepted and passed around without a search warrant – but I digress…

With that strategy of deliberately overexciting the numpties with a fake bit of policy in mind, I’ve been observing the current outcry about the “Terror” Bill. ? The most contentious of it appears to be the 48 hours of surveillance without a search warrant. Read more »

Responding to ISIS threat requires domestic law changes

Adam Bennett’s on it:

Mr Key this morning indicated any resulting laws, which he hopes to pass before Christmas under urgency, would probably be focused on tightening laws around the removal of passports.

While authorities could already confiscate passports of people suspected of planning to travel overseas to fight, Mr Key this morning said there were “a range of issues” that needed further work.

“It’s the capacity to keep those passports cancelled or the renewal process you have to go through”.

“What we are trying to do when it comes to patch that we might put on our legislation is keeping it as narrow as possible. There would a sunset clause in terms of what we’d do and there’d be a small select committee process”.

“So we’re not trying to broaden this thing out and throw everything into a melting pot and pass things under a cover of what’s happening in Iraq and Syria. I think we’ll only realistically get the other political parties to join us if we can convince them both that this is necessary and reasonably tight in terms of its focus.”

That seems rather measured and reasonable to me. ?Mind you, what I’d like to see if the passports cancelled?after they have left New Zealand. ?That solves two problems. ? Read more »

Wednesday General Debate

Morning all. ?Another General Debate Post awaits your input.

If using a passport/visa is essential for the control of people internationally, why don’t we also implement it nationally? ?It could keep certain people in the cities and regions, and others away from it.