New Customs legislation a boost for New Zealand’s international trade

  • Hon Meka Whaitiri

The Customs and Excise Bill which passed its third reading in Parliament this evening will give Customs the tools it needs for the 21st Century says the Minister of Customs Hon Meka Whaitiri.

The new law will enable Customs to support economic growth by making border transactions easier for importers and exporters.

“This will be done without compromising our border security and as I have promised we will still be able to stop the smuggling of illicit drugs that are so harmful to people and communities.

“It will also make our communities and whānau safer with more information-sharing between Customs and other government agencies

“I would like to stress that this increased access to information is balanced by specific protections.”

The legislation modernises and improves Customs’ import and revenue collection system. In 2016/17 Customs collected $13.3 billion in Crown revenue.

Among the changes in the Bill are:

  • The ability for importers who bring goods into the country without knowing their value prior to entry to declare a provisional value for them, and provide Customs with the final value once it is known.
  • Importers will be able to seek binding valuation rulings to get certainty as to how much duty they will owe on goods they want to bring into the country.
  • Compliance with Customs will be made easier by businesses being allowed to store their records in the cloud or off-shore, in line with modern business practice.
  • Customs officers must suspect offending before they can search a person’s cellphone or electronic device. 

“This legislation is more transparent and easier-to-use, and will enable the New Zealand Customs Service to more effectively manage the movement of people, craft and goods in and out of New Zealand,” Meka Whaitiri said.