New Zealand Woman’s Weekly




Is it still true that any letter you write to your MP in parliament or the prime minister does not require a stamp?

While most people email these days, you can still write to any member of parliament, including the prime minister and cabinet ministers, without having to place a stamp on the envelope. The address is Freepost Parliament, Private Bag 18888, Parliament Buildings, Wellington 6108. Letters to your MP have a special status that requires them to reply to you. Sure, you may get a standardis­ed letter, but at least you know they’ve got yours. What you may not know is that if you send enough copies of your letter, say 121 copies, in a strong envelope, Parliament’s distributi­on services undertakes to deliver your letter to every MP in the House. The address to do that is: All Members of Parliament, Care of Distributi­on Services, Freepost Parliament, Private Bag 18888, Parliament Buildings, Wellington 6108. Oddly, the same service is not available if you’re sending your letter by email.

You have amassed a stack of old family passports that have been invalidate­d and replaced by the Passport Office. What should you do with them?

One option is to destroy or shred your old passports, but should you do it? Before you do, check they don’t contain any visas still valid that you may want to use again. Some countries, such as Brazil, which issues 10 -year visas, will allow you into the country with a new passport and a valid visa in a cancelled passpor t. Other countries, such as Russia, will want to know the details of previous visas when you apply for a new one, so it is handy to have your old passpor t at hand to refer back to. While you should keep your current and old passports well apart to avoid a serious mix-up, some travellers take an old passport on overseas trips in case they lose their current passpor t. If you are overseas and urgently apply for a replacemen­t passport, the best document you can have is an old passport. Then, of course, there’s the sentimenta­l value of an old passpor t and the photo that always brings a smile. I reckon keep your old passports – but stored well away from your current ones.

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