New Customs and Excise Bill introduced

  • Nicky Wagner

The new Customs and Excise Bill will strengthen border management and make life simpler for businesses, says Customs Minister Nicky Wagner.

“The Bill will take the place of the out-dated Customs and Excise Act 1996, which is difficult to understand and apply, creating unnecessary compliance costs for business,” Ms Wagner says.

“Businesses’ obligations will be clearer and there will be more flexibility in meeting them in the new modern legislation.

“We have addressed concerns raised by the public during consultation around Customs’ powers to search e-devices at the border.

“Customs’ powers to examine and access electronic devices will be restricted through a two-stage search threshold. This means that Customs will only be able to search a device if they have a reasonable suspicion or belief of offending under the Act.

“The new search powers strike a balance between protecting privacy and ensuring that Customs can continue to protect our borders.

“There will also be greater assurance for all New Zealanders that border risks and non-compliance will be identified and minimised.”

The Bill proposes a number of changes that support the movement of travellers and goods across the border, protect New Zealand from harm, and support the collection of Crown revenue, including:

·       Allowing importers to declare a provisional value for goods in specific circumstances and declare a final value later;

·       A quicker, informal means of appealing Customs’ decisions over assessment of duty;

·       Enabling Customs to issue binding valuation rulings to give importers greater certainty about how to meet valuation requirements;

·       Greater information sharing arrangements with government agencies that protect personal and commercially sensitive information;

·       Establishing an infringement notice scheme for minor offending;

·       Reducing the annual personal allowance for manufacturing tobacco to 5kgs.

“The Bill modernises but does not substantially change most of the provisions in the current Act, and will provide Customs with modern flexible legislation needed to protect the border.”

“Some detail has been moved into regulations to enable changes to be made in response to emerging risks and new technologies and risk management approaches,” Ms Wagner says.