Border Clearance Levy

Closing Date:


31 January 2018 – Performance report and proposed rates

The Border Clearance Levy performance for the year to 30 June 2017 and proposed rates beginning 1 July 2018 report is now available.

Proposed new levy rates – to come into effect on 1 July 2018 – were calculated based on:

  • agencies' updated border processing costs
  • forecast traveller numbers
  • forecast surpluses from the levy’s first 30 months of operation
  • planned biosecurity investment.

If you have questions about the report, email

10 March 2017 – Performance reporting on the levy

The Interim cost recovery report and future reports on the Border Clearance Levy are one way MPI and Customs will ensure transparency and accountability for the performance of the levy. The interim report provides information on cost recovery arrangements and an initial framework for reporting on the levy's financial and non-financial performance in the future.

The June 2016 report shows performance for the 6 months from January to June 2016 and provides a forecast through to the financial year ending 30 June 2018. The next report is due in October 2017 and will cover the full 2016/17 financial year. Subsequent reports will be provided on an annual basis.

MPI and Customs are jointly reviewing the levy for 1 July 2018.

13 January 2016 - Levy details

The Border Clearance Levy was introduced on 1 January 2016.

Key facts
  • The levy covers border clearance costs for arriving and departing passengers.
  • $18.76 (plus GST) for air travellers and those arriving on private craft.
  • $22.80 (plus GST) for cruise ship passengers
  • The levy is higher for cruise ship passengers because of the additional time and resources needed for biosecurity risk assessments at ports.
  • Some exemptions to paying the levy have been made.  They include children under 2 years, commercial passenger airline and cruise ship crew, airline passengers in transit, mercantile crew and passengers, the military, diplomatic staff, Government crisis workers, and anyone who bought their ticket before 1 January 2016 for travel in 2016.

The introduction of the levy allows the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and the New Zealand Customs Service to manage resourcing of border clearance activities as passenger numbers go up or down.  This will mean the right resources are in place to keep New Zealand safe from harmful pests, people and dangerous substances and maintain current levels of service.

Decision documents

Other background documents

Consultation history

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and the New Zealand Customs Service invited comment from interested parties on the new Border Clearance Levy which came into effect on 1 January 2016. Comment was sought on the design and implementation of the levy including:

  • how it's collected
  • if the rates should be different for different transport types
  • possible exemptions to the levy.

Meetings held

Public consultation meetings were held in:

  • Auckland: 15 July 2015 2:00-4:00pm – Custom House, 50 Anzac Avenue, CBD
  • Christchurch: 16 July 2015 2:00-4:00pm – MPI, 14 Sir William Pickering Drive, Burnside
  • Wellington: 17 July 2015 2:00-4:00pm – Pastoral House, 25 The Terrace, Wellington.


Submission closed at 5pm, Monday 28 July 2015.

All received submissions were acknowledged.

Consultation background

The Government announced in the 2015 Budget the introduction of a border clearance levy to recover the cost of border clearance activities for international travellers (passengers and crew).

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and the New Zealand Customs Service (Customs) sought comment on the design and implementation of the new border clearance levy, including how it's collected, if the rates should be different for different transport types, and possible exemptions. 

Both agencies assess risk and process travellers that arrive New Zealand, and Customs also processes those that depart. Traveller numbers have been steadily increasing with around 11 million traveller movements across New Zealand's borders every year. This is growing conservatively at 3.5% a year.

The risk profile of travellers is also changing as trade and tourism links with new countries and markets expand. Higher risk travellers require higher levels of intervention, such as x-ray screening, detector dog screening, and physical inspections, and increases the costs.

The principle behind the levy is that as 'travellers create the risk', it is fairer that they should pay rather than the taxpayer.

The levy is expected to fully meet the costs of passenger and crew border clearance by 2017-18. 

The introduction of the border clearance levy allows MPI and Customs to plan for increasing border volumes while maintaining their current levels of service and to create a more sustainable platform for border risk management services in the future.

Submissions are public information

Note, that your submission is public information. Submissions may be the subject of requests for information under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). The OIA specifies that information is to be made available to requesters unless there are sufficient grounds for withholding it, as set out in the OIA. Submitters may wish to indicate grounds for withholding specific information contained in their submission, such as the information is commercially sensitive or they wish personal information to be withheld. Any decision to withhold information requested under the OIA is reviewable by the Ombudsman.

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