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Border clearance levy to be introduced

Hon Nathan Guy
Minister for Primary Industries
Hon Nicky Wagner
Minister of Customs

21 May 2015

Border clearance levy to be introduced

A new border clearance levy will help the Government to protect New Zealand from imported pests, diseases, illegal drugs and contraband and bring us in line with border approaches by other countries, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Customs Minister Nicky Wagner say.

The levy is expected to take effect from 1 January 2016, and will be around $16 for arriving passengers and around $6 for departing passengers – although the exact amounts will be subject to public consultation.

The Ministry for Primary Industries and the New Zealand Customs Service together spend around $100 million a year on border clearance for passengers and crew.

“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,” Mr Guy says.

The levy will help ensure that border services can match increased future demand. It is expected to raise around $100 million per year and will fully meet the costs of passenger border clearance by 2017/18.

“Our borders are dealing with increasing volumes,” Mr Guy says. “Arriving air passenger volumes have grown by more than 18 per cent from 4.4 million in 2009 to 5.2 million in 2014, and are expected to continue growing at around 3.5 per cent each year.

“The levy will help ensure our border processes stay fit for purpose into the future.”

Ms Wagner says the levy brings passenger clearance in line with clearing cargo imports, which is already funded by levies and fees.

“The move also brings New Zealand in line with many other countries that recover costs from passengers, including Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and China,” Ms Wagner says.

“It will ensure that as passenger volumes increase, and with them border processing costs, border agencies are able to respond to new and emerging risks.”

The border clearance levy will be significantly lower than passenger charges levied by many of New Zealand’s major trading partners.

The levy, when combined with existing charges, will be around $36 for a return journey - lower than Australia’s A$55 (NZ$58) passenger charge and the United Kingdom’s £71 (NZ $142) long-haul passenger charge.

Beginning in early June, the public and industry will get the chance to provide feedback on the design, introduction and level of the levy.

This announcement is part of a range of measures in Budget 2015 to improve security and services at the border, involving immigration, customs andbiosecurity.

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