The Department of Internal Affairs has taken another step towards overhauling New Zealand's passport system.
The department has gone to tender for a prime contractor to lead a major redevelopment of the current system, seeking a firm with prime contracting and systems integration experience.
In November 2005 the department rolled out its first e-passports containing a chip linking passport holders to a digitised version of their photograph and other biodata already held on the passport.
At the time the department said the e-passports were just the first step of a major security-related redevelopment of New Zealand's passport system.
"Alongside the introduction of the e-passport we will be replacing the existing passport system which was rolled out in1992," said passport manager David Philp at the time. "The new system will provide a higher level of security and processing ability. Over time it will make the passport renewal process simpler for customers."
Passport fees were also increased to $150 for an adult to help pay for the new e-passports and the redevelopment project.