New Zealand Customs: Duty and Allowances

new zealand duty and allowances

New arrivals in New Zealand may have to pay duty on certain items at customs. The charge is based on the value of the goods in question.

Import tariffs are more likely to affect people moving to New Zealand (NZ) in the long term or those importing goods for business. However, even holidaymakers may be charged duty on some items they bring into the country.

Learn which items you can expect to be charged for with this guide.

New Zealand Import Duty Allowances

Visitors arriving in New Zealand will not have to pay Goods and Services Tax (GST) on personal effects, such as:

  • Clothes
  • Toiletries
  • Personal jewelry (including watches)

This allowance only applies on the condition that these items are for the use of the person carrying or wearing them and that they will not be given or sold to anyone in New Zealand.

In order to pass through border control with your personal effects, it is imperative to have the correct documentation. For many nationalities, this is a valid passport and an eTA for travel to New Zealand.

Eligible travelers can apply online for the New Zealand eTA without the need to travel to an embassy, as with a paper visa.

Temporary Imports into New Zealand

Temporary imports are goods that the visitor intends to take back out of the country with them. These may also be exempt from duty.

An item counts as a temporary import if it:

  • Remains in New Zealand for no longer than 12 months
  • Is non-consumable
  • Is for personal use only (not for sale/exchange/distribution and not a gift)
  • Leaves in the same condition it arrives in
  • Is uniquely identifiable, for example with a serial number

Temporary imports that do not carry a GST charge include:

  • Baby carriages/strollers
  • Binoculars
  • Cameras
  • Cell phones
  • Musical instruments
  • Personal laptop computers/tablets and accessories
  • Portable sound and video players
  • Sporting equipment
  • Wheelchairs

Professional equipment, animals, and vehicles may also be brought in as temporary imports as long as they meet certain criteria. Individuals traveling for work must ensure they obtain a New Zealand eTA for business or, if they are not from an eligible country, a business visa.

Travelers bringing temporary imports into New Zealand may need an ATA carnet or temporary import entry (TIE) document to do so.

They may also have to pay a cash deposit or financial bond for security on the import. This will be refunded when the items are taken out of New Zealand.

How Much Is Import Duty in NZ?

New Zealand import tariffs can vary depending on the item and its value. The majority of goods have no import tariffs, although certain textiles, processed food, machinery, footwear, and other products have charges of 5 or 10% of the value.

The other factor is the Goods and Services Tax. In general, there is no GST to pay on items that are worth NZ$1000 or less.

However, alcohol and tobacco products always have a charge, which depends on factors such as type, origin, and ABV (alcohol by volume).

For example, a 750ml bottle of whiskey carries a tariff of NZ$22.37, while a 1750ml bottle will cost NZ$49.95 to import.

The following duty charges apply for beer of the corresponding alcohol strength:

0 – 1.15%1.50

Alcohol strengthDuty/GST (NZ$)
0 – 1.15%1.50
1.16 – 2.5%2.47
2.51 – 4.35%4.09
4.36 – 5%4.74
5.01% or greater5.07

How Is Duty Calculated?

Most goods have no import tariffs, but the Goods and Services Tax may have to be paid on items worth over NZ$1000.

GST is 15% of the value of all imported items. The determined value is based on:

  • How much the item was purchased for
  • Additional transportation and insurance cost

In addition to GST, there are 2 flat entry fees:

  • Import entry transaction fee (IETF) (NZ$29.26)
  • Biosecurity levy (NZ$26.45)

These fees are added to the GST and the import tariff for the item in question (if applicable) for the total amount to be paid.

Do You Have to Pay Duty on Gifts?

New Zealand residents who receive a gift from abroad worth NZ$110 or less do not have to pay duties on the item, providing that they did not order or pay for it and that the gift is for their personal use.

However, visitors bringing gifts into New Zealand for other people will be expected to declare the items at customs and pay any necessary duty on them.