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Internet shopping and illegal goods

15 December 2006

Internet shopping and illegal goods

While the internet has broken down borders and opened up the world of online shopping – buying goods on the net can still be risky business, the Customs Service is warning consumers this Christmas.

"While internet shopping is a great way of finding those last-minute Christmas presents or novelty gifts, consumers need to be aware that just because you can order something over the internet, it doesn’t mean you can import it legally into New Zealand, " Customs Minister Nanaia Mahuta says.

"A good rule of thumb is that if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Before buying something, which may be questionable, people should ask themselves why the item they might wish to buy isn’t on sale in New Zealand.

"The same goes for people sending items to New Zealand from overseas, particularly those attempting to send banned and dangerous items, which are intercepted on arrival."

Millions of incoming international mail is screened every year, and items intercepted included firearms, drugs, flora and fauna, pirated goods and objectionable material.

If people are unsure what goods may or may not be allowed into New Zealand, they can ring 0800 4 CUSTOMS (0800 428 786) or go to www.customs.govt.nz and look up Customs' Fact Sheet 5, Import Prohibitions and Restrictions in the Library/Fact Sheets section.

Nanaia Mahuta said that all items sent to New Zealand as cargo or mail were subject to Goods and Services Tax (GST) and possibly Customs duty.

"If someone has sent you a gift from overseas and the total value of the gift is worth more than $110, it is subject to GST and duty. However, if it is worth less than that, no GST or duty will be collected – though this gift concession does not apply to items you have ordered," Nanaia Mahuta said.


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