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Ensure your Christmas gifts arrive safely

For immediate release                                        12 December 2007

Ensure your Christmas gifts arrive safely


With Christmas just around the corner, the New Zealand Customs Service is asking New Zealanders to be aware when bringing or mailing goods into New Zealand.

Customs Manager Northern Ports Simon Williamson says that understandably over the Christmas period, Customs screens a far greater volume of mail than during
"We are concerned that the increased volume may provide an opportunity for unscrupulous people to try to evade the law about mailing restricted and prohibited goods.

"Customs can screen up to 5 million items of international mail each month, both coming in and going out, and these quantities are set to increase over the busy summer period and in the lead-up to Christmas," Mr Williamson says.

Customs screens 100 per cent of incoming international mail using a variety of technology and resources such as x-ray mobile units, detector dogs, as well as using intelligence and profiling techniques to find prohibited goods or breaches of import regulations.

Prohibited goods and items of interest include things like drugs, flora, fauna, large amounts of money, pirated or copyright goods, objectionable material and any goods subject to duty and GST where the value exceeds the gift concession of $NZ110.

"Just because something is permitted in another country or available on the internet does not mean it’s legal to import it into New Zealand. If you bring or mail a prohibited item into New Zealand, you could lose it, and face a tough fine, criminal charges or even imprisonment.

"If you are bringing goods into New Zealand from overseas or you know someone is sending you something by mail, you need to know if the item is allowed into New Zealand. If in doubt, please contact the New Zealand Customs Service.

"You can expect delivery delays if international mail addressed to you is found to contain questionable articles requiring further examination and clarification," Mr Williamson says.

For more information on what goods cannot be brought into New Zealand, visit the website at www.customs.govt.nz or telephone Customs on 0800 4 Customs.


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