Border Clearance Levy details confirmed

  • Nathan Guy
  • Nicky Wagner
Primary Industries Customs

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Customs Minister Nicky Wagner have announced the rate for the new Border Clearance Levy following public consultation on the amount, the levy design and how it is to be paid.

The levy comes into effect on 1 January 2016 and will be NZ$18.76 + GST for air travellers and those arriving and departing on private craft, and NZ$22.80 + GST for cruise passengers. The higher rate for cruise passengers reflects the additional biosecurity assessments required at ports.

Children under two, crew and transit passengers will be exempt, as will the military, Government crisis workers, and anyone who purchased and paid for their ticket in full before 1 January 2016 for travel over the next 12 months.

“The levy will cover the border clearance costs for the increasing volumes of arriving and departing passengers (rising at 3.5% to 4% a year), while maintaining current levels of service,” Mr Guy says.

“All travellers are a risk as they could inadvertently carry ‘hitchhiker’ pests or prohibited items with them. The levy will allow border activities to respond to future demand and create a more sustainable platform for border risk management services.

“In the past, these costs have been met by taxpayers. The Government considers it is fairer for the costs to fall on passengers travelling internationally.

“We have listened carefully to the concerns of the travel industry and stakeholders, and this has informed the design of the levy. It will be collected by airlines and cruise operators when tickets are purchased and passed on to Customs, which is the most efficient and practical means of collection.

“Private aircraft and yachts arriving in New Zealand will be able to pay Customs directly for the arrival and departure parts of the levy when they are cleared for entry.”

Ms Wagner says passenger volumes are forecast to increase from 10.1 million in 2014 to 13.3 million by 2018/19.

“The number of travellers coming to New Zealand will continue to increase with the levy in place, and as tourism grows so too does the risk to New Zealand,” Ms Wagner says.

“The levy rate is set for 30 months and will be reviewed at the end of that period to assess its effectiveness and the need for any adjustments.

“It will bring New Zealand into line with many of our trading partners that recover costs from travellers, including Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and China.

“The levy will also be low compared with other countries – Australia’s A$55 passenger charge and the United Kingdom’s £71 long-haul passenger charge,” Ms Wagner says.