For those among us who travel beyond our borders on a regular basis, the first world nuisance of a 5 year passport and how it fills us with rage is perfectly understandable and is enjoyed by absolutely no one.
Indeed, don’t we all just hate it. Getting up from our lazy-boy sofas once every five years to go down to the local Chemists to have our photo taken, only to return to our sofas and wait a for it.
It is the vain of middle class existence. Luckily for us, the Prime Minister has decided now is a the right time to end the suffering, and bring back 10 year passports so we can keep younger versions of ourselves in a little book for longer. How wonderful.
But why now? Why has the Prime Minister decided that this, of all times, is the right time? In my opinion his timing couldn’t be more questionable.
Let’s remember why we first adopted 5 year passports in the first instance. It was directly after the horrific attack on the city of New York on the morning of September the 11th, 2001. At the time it was not a wanted step to take, but it was a needed step. At a time of heightened terror the Labour government passed this as a measure of national security.
So, again I ask, why now? There has not been a single time between now and 2001 where a terrorist attack on the Western world, and in New Zealand, has been more likely. True, our current terror threat level rates ‘Low’, but it still higher than at any point after the September 11 attacks. That is why the timing of this is perfectly odd.
We know our Prime Minister takes the threat of the Islamic state seriously. That is why the surveillance powers of the Government’s Communications Security Bureau have been increased – or at least the threat of terror has been the justification for this. And that is why New Zealand troops are being deployed into Iraq in non-combat roles.
So, why after these measures is he making this call on 10 year passports?
When David Cunliffe as newly-elected Labour leader in 2013 floated the idea some within the National Party were quick to dismiss the idea.
What this change signifies to me is a move based upon nothing but populist thinking. John Key is a populist Prime Minister, or so he seems to have been over the past few months, first with MP pay and now this. It has been poorly thought through with no obvious reason behind it.
Nothing more than a desperate ploy from a desperate Prime Minister.