The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade today released its Consular Snapshot for 2018-19, which shows a 20 per cent jump in the number of Kiwis seeking consular assistance.

The Ministry received more than 23,000 general inquiries about consular issues, and dealt with 2,716 consular cases in the year from 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019 – a 20 per cent increase in the number of consular cases handled in the previous year.

The Consular Snapshot contains information about the assistance the Ministry provides to New Zealanders who travel or live overseas.  These services can range from helping people who have been victims of crime, to assisting people in detention, and providing advice to the families of New Zealanders who have died in another country.

Carl Reaich, manager of the Ministry’s Consular Division, said the Ministry spent most time dealing with law infringement cases, which includes helping New Zealanders who are arrested or detained overseas. This was ahead of the category of cases in which the Ministry provided assistance following the death of a New Zealander overseas.

The increase in consular cases this year reflects the rise in the number of New Zealanders going overseas, and the increase in older New Zealanders travelling.

The Ministry’s five busiest diplomatic posts, in terms of numbers of new consular cases, were in Australia, the United States, China, the United Kingdom and the Cook Islands.

As well as providing consular advice and assistance to travelling New Zealanders, the Ministry issued 103 travel advisories about overseas destinations, and responded to 37 emergencies overseas, which included natural disasters, accidents and terrorist incidents.

The Ministry’s survey of consular client satisfaction found that 84 per cent of respondents were either satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of the consular services they received.

“Our advice to travelling New Zealanders is to check our travel advice for your destination, to register your travel details on the SafeTravel website so we can contact you in an emergency, and to get comprehensive travel insurance,” Mr Reaich said.

The Ministry also encourages New Zealanders who are planning overseas travel to:

  • check their passport will be valid throughout the trip
  • check the visa or entry requirements of their destinations (including if there are restrictions applying to people who have a criminal record)
  • find out whether there are any health requirements for the destinations
  • ensure they can access sufficient money to see them through the trip.

SafeTravel website (external link)

Read the Consular Snapshot 2018-19

Read and download the Consular Snapshot 2018-19 report.