Passport policy

John Burns-Smith made this Official Information request to Department of Internal Affairs

Response to this request is delayed. By law, Department of Internal Affairs should normally have responded promptly and by (details and exceptions)

From: John Burns-Smith

Dear Department of Internal Affairs,

I wish to make a three-part OIA request for policy/discussion documents (or the like) which pertain to passport language and issuance.

Please supply policy or discussion documents that pertain to the redesign of the passport in 2021, as noted in the Seek Article 'New Zealand passport to get a security makeover' published on 3 May (see LINK 1 at the end of this request). I appreciate this request is broad, so I would like to limit the request to policies/discussions that focus on the primacy of one language over another.

Please supply policy or discussion or advice documents that the DIA generated or receive when considering the presentation of Maori and English in various iterations of the covers of passports and Emergency travel documents?

To assist clarifying this request, it may be noted that passports use the formats:

New Zealand___________Uruwhenua

New Zealand___________Uruwhenua Kātipa
Official Passport________Aotearoa

New Zealand___________Uruwhenua
Diplomatic Passport_____Māngai Whenua

New Zealand___________Aotearoa
Emergency Travel_______Tuhinga Haere

(underscored were only inserted to assist with spacing on the webform)

When considering Maori/English presentation, what advice did the Department receive as to the presentation in terms of type size and position of 'Aotearoa'? It appears not to be on equal footing with 'New Zealand' which appears larger on passports but the reverse is true on Emergency travel documents where 'Aotearoa' and 'New Zealand' are equal. See images at LINK 2 at the end of this request.

I would also like to request policy documents that outline what categories of person are entitled to be issued diplomatic and official passports, and under what circumstances (for example, current and former prime ministers / Department CEOs) and any policies that govern the use of these documents. The UK for example publishes a similar document to the type I am seeking. See LINK 3 at the end of this request. I appreciate that the policy which governs the use of Diplomatic/Official passports may be issues by another government department, if that is the case any helpful suggestion would be welcomed so I can redirect the enquiry to the right area.

Thank you.

John Burns-Smith




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From: OIA
Department of Internal Affairs

Tçnâ koe John,

Thank you for your OIA request to the Department of Internal Affairs (included with this email)

The Department will provide its response to your request as soon as practicable and within twenty working days.  The 20th working day is 3 September 2021

Please note that in cases where the Department’s response provides information that is identified to be of general public interest, the response may also be published on the Department of Internal Affairs website.  If the Department publishes its response to your OIA request, all personal information, including your name and contact details, will be removed.

Nâku noa, nâ

Michelle Reed (she/her)  
Kaitohutohu Ârahi, te Ture Pârongo Ôkawa | Lead Advisor Official Correspondence 
Te Urûngi | Organisational Strategy & Performance
Level 6, 45 Pipitea St | PO Box 805, Wellington 6140, New Zealand |

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From: SDO Official Correspondence
Department of Internal Affairs

Attachment image001.png
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Attachment John Burns Smith OIA response 2122 0113.pdf
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Attachment Policy Official passports.pdf
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Attachment Policy Diplomatic passports.pdf
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Attachment Email chains.pdf
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Kia ora John


Please find attached the response to your Official Information Act


Ngā mihi


Alysha Stevenson | Advisor Official Correspondence

SDO Branch Development and Support Te Waka Aukaha   

The Department of Internal Affairs Te Tari Taiwhenua   
7 Waterloo Quay | PO Box 805, Wellington 6143|  [1]  






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From: John Burns-Smith

Dear SDO Official Correspondence,

Thank you for a timely response.

Part of my request was refused with the reason of s18(e). As you note in the response letter the DIA has interpreted my request "to be in relation to the 2020 passports redesign and our current suite of travel documents" and as a result "no discussion or policy documents relating to Te Reo Māori and English in various iterations from the 2020 passports redesign" exists.

I would, therefore, like to reframe that part of the request (Part B) to be interpreted in relation to the 2009 decisions you highlight in your letter dated 3 September 2021. Please refer to the original clarification under 'Part B' in my request when responding to the reframed part of the request. I would appreciate it if you could respond in less than 20 days, but I will understand if you would like to treat this as a 'new' request.

Yours sincerely,

John Burns-Smith

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