This information has been reproduced with permission from, and courtesy of the New Zealand Customs Service. For further inquiries and confirmation of the information, call Customs freephone 0800 428 786 or visit the Customs Service web site www.customs.govt.nz
Do not import drugs into New Zealand. The importation of drugs could result in your imprisonment.
Be wary of carrying packages or baggage for strangers.
Unless authorised by a licence or permit issued by the Director-General
of Health, the importation of Methadone is prohibited.
is not worth the risk
Smuggling and False Receipts
There are heavy penalties for concealing dutiable
goods from Customs and for making false declarations. When purchasing
expensive items overseas, such as jewellery and electronic equipment,
you may be offered a false receipt purporting to show a purchase
price lower than that actually paid as a means of reducing the
Customs charges payable.
Do not succumb to these temptations since concealment of dutiable
goods and the presentation of false documentation are serious
offences which might entail the forfeiture of the articles, as
well as having to pay a substantial penalty. You may also be
Honesty is the
Prior to your arrival you will receive a New Zealand
Passenger Arrival Card. You must tick Yes in the
Customs section of your Arrival Card if you are bringing into
goods that may be prohibited or restricted,
such as weapons, objectionable (indecent) articles, or illicit
goods in excess of the concessions listed
on pages 6 and 7; or
goods for commercial, business, or trade
goods carried on behalf of another person;
NZ$10,000 or more, or the equivalent in foreign
You do not have to declare your clothing,
footwear, jewellery, and toiletries these are regarded
as personal effects if intended solely for your own
Please have any purchase receipts readily
Red/Green Ways Out
After collecting your baggage and clearing
Customs passport control you will not be directed to any exit.
If you have any Customs or Agricultural goods declared on your
Arrival Card, please go to the Goods to Declare Way Out
(Red Exit). Otherwise walk through the Nothing to Declare
Way Out (Green Exit). If you are unsure go to the Red
Customs officers may search the baggage of
any passenger. A baggage search may also be asked for from the
Prohibited & Restricted Imports
An important Customs function is screening
out items harmful to New Zealands interests. Importation
of some goods is prohibited. Others may be admitted only after
they have been subjected to treatment.
The Financial Transactions Reporting Act 1996
requires a Border Cash Report to be completed by every person
who carries New Zealand cash and/or foreign cash into or out
of New Zealand, on their person or in their baggage, and the
total value of the cash involved is NZ$10,000 or more (or foreign
equivalent). Border Cash Reports are available from Customs.
Cash does not include travellers cheques, postal notes, bearer
bonds or money orders. Failure to report or the presentation
of a false or misleading report renders a person liable to a
monetary penalty not exceeding $2,000.
The following classes of goods must be declared:
food of any kind
plants or parts of plants (alive or dead)
animals (alive or dead) or their products
equipment used with animals
equipment such as camping gear, golf clubs,
and used bicycles
There are prohibitions and restrictions governing
the entry of domestic pets such as cats and dogs into New Zealand
and these are strictly enforced. Further information on agricultural
requirements can be obtained by contacting the Ministry of Agriculture
and Forestry, Box 3042, Wellington, or the nearest New Zealand
Firearms and Weapons
The importation of firearms is strictly controlled
and a Police permit to import is required. The importation of
certain types of weapons such as flick knives, swordsticks, knuckle-dusters
and any weapon designed to give the appearance of another article
If you require medicines containing habit
forming drugs or narcotics (e.g., diuretics, depressants, stimulants,
heart drugs, tranquillisers, sleeping pills) you should:
have a prescription from your physician advising
that the medicine is being used under a doctors direction
and is necessary for your physical well-being; and
carry the drugs in their original containers.
Note: The importation of Methadone and
Morphine is prohibited, unless it has been authorised by a licence
or permit issued by the Director-General of Health.
Articles such as objectionable (indecent)
video tapes, films, records, and publications are prohibited
imports and will be seized.
Radio Transmitters and Telecommunications
Travellers considering the purchase and importation
of transmitters, cordless and cellular phones and similar equipment,
should first check with the Communications Division of the Ministry
of Commerce that their devices meet New Zealand technical standards
and will not cause interference to other radio or television
New Zealand is a party to a world-wide agreement
(the CITES agreement) designed to prevent trade in endangered,
threatened or exploited species. It covers both the live plants
and animals themselves and products made from them such as those
listed below, which cannot be brought into New Zealand, or can only
be brought in with a special permit. There are also corresponding
restrictions on the goods which you can export from this country
at the completion of your visit.
Goods you cannot bring back to New Zealand:
ivory in any form, including jewellery and
tortoise or sea turtle shell jewellery and
meat or other food made from whales, dolphins,
rare cranes and pheasants, or sea turtles
medicines using musk, or rhinoceros or tiger
derivatives such as ground horn or bone
carvings or other things made from whalebone
or bone from many other marine mammals
cat skins or coats
trophies of: sea turtles, all big cats, rare
reptiles, cranes, pheasants, bears, antelope, and deer
live species including: pet eagles, hawks,
owls and parrots, many cacti, orchids, cycads, cyclamens, and
Goods you need a CITES export permit for:
all clam shells and bits of coral
even those you just pick up on the beach
bird of paradise feathers
many big game trophies
some live cranes, pheasants, quail, and many
small cage birds such as finches
many goods such as belts, bags, watchstraps
or shoes made from skins or crocodiles, lizards, large snakes,
or other reptiles
many butterfly collections
some ferns and any carnivorous plants, cycads,
orchids, cyclamens and cacti not completely prohibited
anything made from any of these species or
which incorporates some part of them.
Remember if in doubt, dont
All goods brought to New Zealand are subject
to the control of the Customs. The following sections deal with
the various concessions available to travellers.
Wearing apparel and other
Your clothing, toilet articles, personal jewellery
(including watches) will be admitted free of duty and Goods and
Services Tax (GST) irrespective of whether they accompany you
or are sent separately, provided:
they are intended for your own use or wear; and
are not intended for any other person or persons or for
gift, sale or exchange.
Commercial quantities of individual items of apparel
(including footwear) are not admissible under the provisions
of this concession since the term personal effects
used in the context of the concession only covers articles, new
or used, which a traveller may reasonably require for his or
her personal use during a journey or has acquired in the course
of an overseas trip (in the case of a returning New Zealand resident).
Visitors to New Zealand
Under the category of other personal effects,
a visitor may also import without payment of Customs charges:
cameras, both video and photographic
portable radio receivers, television sets,
laptop computers, sound recorders, video recorders
musical instruments (portable)
perambulators and push chairs
wheel-chairs for invalids
on the condition that the goods will be taken
from New Zealand at the completion of the visit.
If a visitor is unable to satisfy this requirement, Customs may
require a cash deposit to cover the duty and GST normally payable.
The deposit will be refunded when the goods have been exported.
Accompanied Goods Concessions
For each passenger:
goods up to a total combined value of $700
are free of duty and exempt GST
goods in excess of the value of $700 or the
separate tobacco and alcoholic liquor quantities set out below
attract duty (where applicable) and GST. This will only be collected
where the revenue assessment is $50 or more.
The concessions apply only in respect of goods
accompany a passenger through the Customs
arrival processes; and
are for the personal use of the passenger, or intended
as gifts; and
are not for use in the passengers business or profession;
are not imported for other persons at their request.
Passengers travelling together cannot combine
their individual $700 concessions. Children may claim the concession
provided the goods are their own property and of a type a child
would reasonably expect to own and use.
Cigarettes, Cigars, Tobacco,
and Alcoholic Liquor
In addition to the $700 duty free goods allowance,
all passengers 17 years of age and over are entitled to import
the following goods free of duty and exempt GST.
Cigarettes, Cigars, Tobacco
200 cigarettes or 250 grams of tobacco
or 50 cigars or a mixture of all three weighing not more
than 250 grams.
Alcoholic Liquor Concession
4.5 litres of wine or 4.5 litres of
beer this is equivalent to six 750ml bottles
one bottle containing not more than 1125ml
of spirits, liqueur, or other spirituous beverages.
Baggage Which Does Not Accompany
If you find it necessary to send part of your
baggage by post, or by ship or aircraft other than the one in
which you travel, you can obtain maximum benefit from the concessions
sending separately any goods which you do
not require on the voyage and which qualify for duty-free entry
as personal effects
bringing with you in the same ship or aircraft
the goods which do not qualify for duty-free entry as personal
effects, but which may qualify under the concessions set out
for accompanied goods.
Full Customs charges are payable on goods
which are not eligible for concession or are in excess of the
allowances. However if the duty and/or GST combined is less than
$50, no collection will be made.
Calculation of Customs Charges
Customs duty, where applicable is levied on
the transaction value of the goods, i.e., the price actually
paid for them. GST of 12.5% is then calculated on the duty inclusive
In cases where there is no identifiable transaction
cost, such as for items gifted to the traveller, Customs will
endeavour to have the goods valued independently.
Payment of Customs Charges
Payments will only be accepted in New Zealand
currency. Passengers may pay Customs charges by using any of
the following credit cards: VISA, Bankcard, Mastercharge, Diners
Club, American Express.
Immigrants and New Zealand
Residents Returning to Resume Permanent Residence After 21 Months
or More Overseas
You are entitled to the following additional
concessions and they apply whether the goods accompany you or
are sent separately.
Household or Other Related
Your household or other related effects (excluding
motor vehicles, boats and aircraft) will be admitted free of
duty and exempt GST for a reasonable time after you arrive, provided
you can meet the following requirements:
you are coming to New Zealand with the intention
and legal authority to take up permanent residence; and
you have lived outside New Zealand for the
whole of the 21 months before the date of your arrival in New
you have owned and used the goods
before the date of your departure for New Zealand; and
the goods are for your own personal use and
not intended for any other person or persons or for gift, sale
goods of a commercial nature such as factory
plant and office equipment do not qualify as household effects.
shipped directly after purchase to avoid local taxes in the country
of export, and replacement electrical equipment operating to
New Zealand standards, will not qualify for entry under
this concession unless the importer can establish that the items
have had personal use prior to their arrival in New Zealand.
Motor Vehicles and Boats
Motor vehicles (other than ambulances and motor homes
(camper vans)) are free of tariff duty. The concession available
to an immigrant, i.e., a person coming to New Zealand to take
up permanent residence for the first time, only gives relief
from GST. In respect of imported goods, GST is defined as a Customs
duty and, therefore, any reference to duty in the text set out
below should be read in context. Boats and motor homes (camper
vans) attract both tariff duty and GST.
It is possible for more than one motor vehicle,
motorcycle, motor scooter, and boat to be imported free of all
Customs charges, provided that the importer/owner is able to
meet all of the concessionary requirements in respect of each
vehicle or boat. Full documentary evidence should be available
to establish that:
(a) you are coming to New Zealand for the
first time and have the legal authority to take up permanent
residence. (Brief holiday or exploratory visits do not debar
a person from qualifying for this concession)
(b) you have personally owned and used the
vehicle or boat for at least one year before the date of your
departure for New Zealand or the date on which the vehicle or
boat is surrendered for shipping (or, where the boat is imported
otherwise than as cargo, the date of its departure for New Zealand);
whichever is the earlier
(c) the vehicle or boat is being imported
for your own use and not for sale, gift or disposal in any other
(d) an importer will be required to give an
undertaking that a vehicle or boat granted duty and/or GST free
entry will not be sold or otherwise disposed of within two years
of the date of importation. In respect of a boat there is a further
restriction that the boat will not be used in a commercial capacity
for hire, or the transport of passengers for reward, within two
years from the date of importation. (This requirement does not
apply to those boats conforming to the size/weight limitations
specified on pages 10 and 11).
The terms of the above concession are legal
requirements as set out in the Tariff of New Zealand. Unless
you can establish that all of the above requirements have been
or will be complied with, full Customs charges will be payable.
If you require an assessment of the amount of Customs charges
payable on your vehicle, you should obtain a copy of the brochure
Advice on Private Motor Vehicle Imports. This brochure explains
how to calculate the value for duty (or GST) so that you can
determine the Customs charges payable. In respect of a boat,
you should write directly to the New Zealand Customs Service
(NZCS) at your intended port of arrival.
Importers are strongly advised to research
the viability of any proposed importation. The used motor vehicle
market in New Zealand is extremely competitive by world standards
and importations often prove to be uneconomic when shipping costs
and Customs charges are taken into account.
Left-Hand Drive Vehicles
There are restrictions on the operation of
left hand drive vehicles in New Zealand. Owners of such vehicles
should, therefore, contact the Land Transport Safety Authority,
Box 2840, Wellington, before making any plans to ship a vehicle
to New Zealand. The LTSA can also be contacted on Telephone:
+64-4-494 8600, and Fax: +64-4-494 8601.
Motor Vehicle Legislation
Prospective importers should bear in mind
that vehicles which do not meet New Zealand regulations and Land
Transport Rules, or are found to be structurally defective will
not be allowed to be driven on the New Zealand road network.
The NZCS will not accept any responsibility
in cases where a vehicle has been imported on either a duty free,
or duty paid basis, but is subsequently denied registration for
safety or other considerations.
To avoid such embarrassment, it is recommended
that importers write to the Manager, Safety Promotion, Policy
Division, Land Transport Safety Authority, Box 2840, Wellington,
before making arrangements to ship a vehicle to New Zealand.
The LTSA can also be contacted on Telephone:
+64-4-494 8600, Facsimile: +64-4-494 8601, or E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applicability is confined to New Zealand residents
returning to resume permanent residence after 21 months or more
overseas. Immigrants (first time) are able to benefit from the
concession on pages 8/9 which has no size/weight limitation.
The following vessels qualify for concessionary entry.
(a) Sailing vessels that:
in the sailing condition do not exceed 2.5
metres in width at any section; and
do not exceed 1,000 kilograms unladen weight;
do not incorporate any device for propelling
the vessel by power, e.g., an auxiliary motor; and
are not of the deep keel type.
(b) Powered vessels that:
do not exceed 7 metres in length overall;
do not exceed 2.5 metres in width at any
do not exceed 1,250 kilograms all up unladen
weight (i.e., with driving units and transmissions) or 800 kilograms
unladen weight when imported without driving units and transmissions.
To qualify for this concession, the boat must
have been personally owned and personally used
by the importer for at least one year before the date
of departure for New Zealand or the date of shipment of the boat
(or where the boat is imported otherwise than as cargo, the date
of its departure for New Zealand), whichever is the earlier.
Importers will also be required to give a written undertaking
that if the boat is sold or otherwise disposed of within two
years from the date of importation, they will be required to
pay the Customs duty plus GST that would normally have been payable.
Aircraft are free of duty and can also in certain
circumstances be exempt GST under a concession which applies
equally to immigrants and to New Zealand residents returning
to resume permanent residence after 21 months or more overseas.
To qualify, the aircraft must have been personally owned and
personally used by the importer for at least one year before
the date of departure for New Zealand or the date of shipment
of the aircraft (or where the aircraft is imported otherwise
than as cargo, the date of its departure for New Zealand), whichever
is the earlier. Importers will also be required to give a written
undertaking that if the aircraft is sold or otherwise disposed
of within two years from the date of importation, they will be
required to pay the GST that would normally have been payable.
Visitors Motor Vehicles
Visitors may import a motor vehicle (including
an attached trailer or caravan) into New Zealand without payment
of Customs charges provided it is the intention of the
owner to take the vehicle from New Zealand at the conclusion
of the visit. The normal period of temporary entry allowed is
12 months. In order to facilitate duty free entry, visitors are
encouraged to have in their possession:
a Carnet de Passages en Douanes (CPD)
issued by AIT/FIA affiliated member clubs, i.e., Automobile Associations.
An importer will normally be expected to remove
a vehicle within 12 months of the date of importation or at the
expiry of the CPD (carnet), whichever is the earlier. In exceptional
circumstances, the period of temporary importation may be extended
with the agreement of Customs and the guaranteeing office which
issued the temporary admission papers. Owners of vehicles which
remain beyond the permitted period will be required to pay the
Customs charges which would have been incurred had the vehicle
been imported initially on a permanent basis.
If you do not have the above touring document
in your possession, you will be required to put up a cash deposit
to cover the full Customs charges. The deposit will be refunded
provided the vehicle and attachments are exported within the
stipulated period of temporary entry. This is normally
restricted to 12 months but the NZCS may allow a once only extension
provided such a request is made in good time.
Steam Cleaning of Motor Vehicles
All used vehicles are subject to a quarantine
inspection on arrival by an inspector of the Ministry of Agriculture
If the vehicle is found to be contaminated with soil, plant material
or animal material, it will require cleaning sufficient to remove
The charges for inspection and cleaning (if required) are the
responsibility of the importer.
New Zealanders Departing on
an Overseas Trip
Goods for Export and Return
There is no requirement for travellers to
declare goods which were physically in their possession prior
to the commencement of an overseas trip provided that the goods
in question were not purchased duty free in New Zealand at the
time of departure.
There are restrictions on the export of certain
goods, e.g., greenstone in its natural state, wildlife, antiquities
and works of art. If you have any doubt about what you may or
may not take with you, please inquire at your nearest Customs
Traps For Travellers
Are overseas countries concerned
about drug problems?
Yes. In recent years, international concern
over drug abuse has led to stronger law enforcement and tougher
penalties for drug offences.
What are the penalties for drug offences in other countries?
These vary. In most countries, possession of drugs brings a fine
or imprisonment or both. Drug trafficking carries the death sentence
in some countries. In recent cases, New Zealanders and Australians
have received lengthy jail sentences in addition to hefty fines.
Possession of a minimal quantity of drugs is often evidence of
Are New Zealanders arrested
abroad protected by New Zealand Law?
No. They are subject to the law of the country
in which an offence was committed.
Are offenders kept in jail
during the pre-trial period?
This varies and may depend upon the gravity
of the charge. In some countries there is no bail. The period
between arrest and trial may range from a few days to as much
as 18 months. In some countries this remand period may be counted
as part of the sentence in others it may not.
What can the New Zealand
Embassy, Consulate, or High Commission do for New Zealanders
detained on drug charges?
Officers of these Missions may visit the detainee
after arrest to inform them of their rights and provide them
with a list of lawyers from which they may select their own counsel.
They may not act as lawyers or give legal advice. As a general
rule they will contact relatives/friends of the detainee and
seek their assistance.
They will ensure that the New Zealander receives the benefit
of the same laws, administration, and protection which the foreign
country affords its own subjects. Official funds cannot be advanced
or used to pay legal fees or any other expenses of arrested New
Is legal representation in
drug cases expensive?
The cost of legal representation can be extremely
high. Fees are often requested in advance of services being provided.
Will conviction for a drug
offence in any way affect future travel plans?
This very often leads to deportation from
a country and to restrictions being placed on admission to many
Travellers can be easy targets
for the professional drug trafficker.
back to New Zealand for me
unless you are sure they contain no drugs or other prohibited
goods, it is safer not to carry anyones packages or baggage.
OK, Its legal to use dope over here
it nearly all countries prohibit drug use. The proof of
such misinformation could be a long jail sentence.
never search you youre not the type they go for
it All types of persons are searched by Customs authorities.
If you get caught you could face a long period in prison. Under
New Zealand law the maximum sentence for importing or exporting
a narcotic is life imprisonment.
induced to trade in or transport drugs You will be taking
all the risks while the instigator takes all the profits. You
might even be set up for the reward to be gained for informing
the authorities about you.
If you have information concerning the
importation of drugs or suspect that drugs are being imported,
advise the authorities by phoning Free Phone 0800-654 279 or
contact your local Customs office.
If you are on a business visit and carrying
commercial goods they may be subject to duty and GST. If the
goods are intended for temporary importation, you may have to
arrange security to cover duty and GST, pending re-export. New
Zealand accepts ATA Carnets as security for the temporary importation
of commercial samples, advertising material, and certain other
materials and equipment. Please inquire at your local Chamber
of Commerce for further details of the ATA Carnet system.
This information has been reproduced with the permission from, and courtesy of the New Zealand Customs Service. For further inquiries and confirmation of the information, call Customs freephone 0800 428 786 or visit the Customs Service web site www.customs.govt.nz