Steps to importing vehicles, machinery, or parts

If you're importing vehicles, machinery, or parts (including tyres) you need to make sure they're clean and meet other requirements. We've created a step-by-step process so you can see what's involved.

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What you need to know

An overview of importing vehicles, machinery, and parts from start to finish.

Importing vehicles, machinery, and parts

This import process is for the following goods arriving in New Zealand as cargo (sea freight or air freight):

  • vehicles including land vehicles, watercraft, and aircraft
  • all forms of machinery
  • parts from or for vehicles and machinery
  • tyres
  • wire cables and ropes if used with land vehicles or machinery.

Importing related products

If you are importing vehicles, machinery, or parts in sea containers, read our information on importing sea containers


Summary of main requirements

To import vehicles, machinery, and parts you must:

  • comply with the requirements of the Import Health Standard for Vehicles, Machinery and Parts.
  • meet other commercial or government agency requirements, like those of the New Zealand Customs Service
  • provide a declaration with details about your consignment
  • comply with IHSs for sea containers and wood packaging, if applicable.

More details about these requirements are in Step 2: What you need to do.

What you need to do

The tasks you need to complete.

Check the import health standard (IHS) requirements

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) issues import health standards for items that might bring pests and diseases to New Zealand and are considered biosecurity risks. An IHS lists the requirements you must meet when importing these risk goods. These requirements include what you need to do: 

  • in the exporting country before shipping
  • during transit
  • on arrival before items can be released in New Zealand.

Read the IHS and make sure you can meet all the requirements before making plans to import.

Download the IHS for vehicles, machinery and parts [PDF, 565 KB]

Consider using a customs broker

A customs broker will help you get import entry clearance. Some services provided by the New Zealand Customs Service can only be accessed by registered customs brokers.

Many freight and transport companies employ their own brokers. If you need help finding one, contact the Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Federation.

Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Federation

Read about the import entry process – New Zealand Customs

Meet other agencies' requirements

You'll need to check with other government agencies and meet their requirements.

Read about importing vehicles – New Zealand Transport Agency

Read about importing motor vehicles – New Zealand Customs

Cleaning your vehicle, machinery, or parts

You must clean your vehicle, machinery, or parts before you ship these to New Zealand. This will reduce the risk of them carrying unwanted contaminants and pests, which can cause delays in getting your consignment cleared by MPI.

Used vehicles, machinery, and parts must be cleaned inside and out. A cleaning certificate must be submitted to MPI for the cleaning of used outdoor or targeted machinery.

All rubbish and other goods that do not belong to a vehicle or machine must be removed so that MPI can carry out on-arrival verification.

If you are importing a used passenger vehicles (car), truck, bus, campervan, or caravan from Japan, the cleaning must be carried out by an MPI-approved system in Japan.

 Approved systems for used vehicles and machinery

Detailed instructions are available for:

Consider spraying the item

Spraying your item with insecticide is not compulsory but is recommended for added security. This treatment will reduce the chance of your consignment being delayed when it arrives in New Zealand.

Spraying is especially useful if you are importing from a country that has brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB). You can read more about spraying and segregation on our BMSB page, as well as the general BMSB requirements for vehicles, machinery, and parts.

Brown marmorated stink bug: requirements for importers

Register to use the Trade Single Window

The Trade Single Window is a joint initiative of the New Zealand Customs Service and MPI. It lets businesses securely exchange information with government agencies online. You need to register to use it.

Provide a declaration

You need to make a declaration about the item you're importing. Submit this declaration through the Trade Single Window. You should complete the declaration at least several days before the item is due to arrive in New Zealand. For a full list of the information requirements for vehicles, machinery, and parts, see section 2.1 of the IHS.

Your declaration needs to have:

  • product identification numbers – for example, a vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • make and model (applies only to whole vehicles and units of machinery)
  • place of export and other countries where vehicles, machinery, and parts may have been used or stored before importation to New Zealand
  • shipment details, including the container number (if applicable) and bill of lading
  • the number and type of tyres (if applicable)
  • names of the seller and buyer, and the buyer's full address.

Sea containers

Sea containers are biosecurity risk items and need to be considered if you are using one to import vehicles, machinery, and parts. The sea container and inner goods inside must be taken to a transitional facility for opening and any appliable inspections. This will be arranged by your customs broker.

Before a sea container arrives in New Zealand, your customs broker must submit a declaration to New Zealand Customs Service and MPI through Trade Single Window (TSW). The details can be found on the Customs website.

Import - New Zealand Customs Service   

Get a signed container quarantine declaration

Your container must be accompanied by a quarantine declaration. The declaration should be completed and signed by a manager of the packing or exporting facility in the country the goods are shipped from.

Sea container quarantine declaration for New Zealand [DOCX, 19 KB]

Read more about importing sea containers to New Zealand

Wood packaging

If you're using wood packaging for your item, you need to comply with the requirements for wood packaging.

Getting MPI clearance for your consignment

How MPI checks that biosecurity requirements have been met.

On-arrival inspection by MPI

Biosecurity clearance is given when MPI is satisfied that biosecurity risk associated with the vehicle, machine, or parts has been managed. To do this MPI may inspect (verify) any vehicles, machinery, and parts when they arrive in New Zealand. We will issue a biosecurity authority/clearance certificate (BACC) releasing the goods when biosecurity clearance is given.

Importers of used vehicles, used outdoor or targeted machinery, and used parts (including tyres) should expect MPI to carry out an on-arrival inspection (external and internal). MPI can also choose to inspect new vehicles, machinery, and parts, including those managed under an approved system, on arrival. 

The place of inspection depends on the method of shipping. Items that are not imported in a sea container are inspected at the place of arrival – the airport or port. Items arriving in air containers and sea containers are usually inspected at a transitional facility or at a place of first arrival.

Importers can expect MPI to carry out verification activity within 12 hours of:

  • unloading from the vessel if shipped as break-bulk or in a non-fully enclosed container
  • being unloaded at a transitional facility.

If MPI inspectors cannot verify cleanliness on arrival, they may require that used vehicles or machinery are partially or fully dismantled. This is more likely when there are signs of internal biosecurity contamination. To prevent this, used vehicles and machinery should be thoroughly cleaned and checked before they arrive.

Other government agencies may also want to inspect your vehicle before or after biosecurity clearance is given – for example, the New Zealand Transport Agency or the New Zealand Customs Service. 

What happens when contamination is found 

If contaminants are found, the vehicle, machinery, or parts may be cleaned by MPI or dealt with in an MPI-approved facility. If the contamination cannot be contained and removed, reshipment or destruction may occur. The importer is responsible for the cost of any action that is required to be taken on arrival.

When to alert MPI

If you notice any biosecurity contamination during or following the importation of your product, contact MPI immediately.

Pest and disease hotline: 0800 80 99 66

Who to contact

If you have a question about importing vehicles, machinery, and parts, email standards@mpi.govt.nz

If you have a question about brown marmorated stink bug requirements for vehicles, machinery, and parts, email BMSB@mpi.govt.nz

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