Customs and Excise Act 1996

The complete version of the Customs and Excise Act 1996 is published by New Zealand Legislation.​


Customs’ roles include protecting New Zealand’s borders, facilitating trade and travel in and out of the country, and collecting revenue. The nature of the border has changed significantly since the Customs and Excise Act was last thoroughly reviewed. The current Act came into force in 1996 and is based largely on the 1966 Act, which in turn was based on 1913 legislation.

Customs’ roles require effective and flexible legislation that can respond to and support future developments and opportunities.

Following a public consultation process and lots of input from our customers, a Customs and Excise bill was drafted and has now been introduced into Parliament. 

Next steps

The bill is now under consideration by Parliament’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee.
Click here if you would like to make a submission.

Once submissions have been received and considered by the Committee, it will report back to Parliament, and the bill will make its way through the rest of the Parliamentary process. We expect that to be completed in 2017.

Most of the provisions in the new Act will come into effect on 1 April 2018 or six months after the date of Royal Assent, whichever is later. This lead-in time is needed to ensure businesses and Customs have the time to make any system or process changes needed.


An implementation programme is underway to ensure that the non-legislative changes identified in the review are progressed at the same time a Bill is developed. This will ensure we are ready to implement the new Act as soon as it is passed.

We will work with stakeholders on this implementation programme. Guidance material will be developed to ensure our customers understand the changes, policies and procedures, and undertake any necessary process and system changes identified.


If you have specific questions about the review, or any of the decisions made, please contact the Customs and Excise Act review team at C&

Further Information

  1. You can read the 2013 Cabinet paper proposing the Review and Decision and the Issues paper referred to in the Cabinet paper.
  2. Overview of the changes to be included in the Customs and Excise Amendment Bill.
  3. The Cabinet papers and Regulatory Impact Statements and the 91 submissions are here. (Some have been withheld, in whole or in part, at the request of the submitter.)

This description was last updated on: Wednesday, 07 December 2016