Consultation on Goods Clearance fees

We are seeking feedback on proposed changes to goods clearance fees.

Goods Clearance Fees Review

Customs clears all goods entering or leaving New Zealand. This process is designed to detect illegal activity, and ensure New Zealand’s import and export controls are complied with. It also ensures that importers and exporters declare the correct classification, origin and value of their goods, and that they pay the appropriate duties and taxes.

Our fees were last reviewed in 2006, and since then changes in our operating environment, including increases in the volumes of imports and exports, mean that our fees no longer reflect the true cost of clearing goods.

We also know that our charging needs to be more transparent and costs need to be fairly shared across groups.

The review involves:

  • considering who should pay
  • understanding the actual costs of goods clearance
  • identifying fees that will recover those costs appropriately.

It also considers:

  • recovering costs associated with the enforcement of intellectual property rights
  • the hourly rate we charge for services that Customs’ staff provide outside standard working hours.

Consultation documents

The background to this review and the proposed changes are set out in the documents listed below:

Deciding who should pay for goods clearance

To determine who should pay for our goods clearance activities we developed a cost recovery framework based on accepted cost recovery principles.  The key principle underpinning the framework is equity - those who generate need for and/or benefit from our services should pay for them.

The introduction of an Activity Based Costing model (PDF 2.5 MB) enabled us to identify how we use our resources (people, premises and equipment), and the cost of our goods clearance activities. As a result, we now have greater transparency around how we cost our activities and apply our fees - Pricing and Fee Setting Methodology (PDF 1.8 MB).

We have had our methodology quality assured by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PDF 1.1 MB) to ensure our approach and logic is sound.

Have your say

We would like to hear your views on the proposed fees, particularly on the practical implications. They will help us to develop our recommendations to the Minister of Customs.

We are accepting submissions until 5pm on 30 August 2019.

You can provide your feedback by:

  • Completing the online survey. The survey is hosted on an external website called SurveyMonkey. The questions in the survey are the same questions asked in the discussion document, or
  • Emailing your submission to or
  • Post:

Consultation: Goods clearance cost recovery
New Zealand Customs Service
PO Box 2218
Wellington 6140

Please include:

  • the title of the discussion document: Recovering the costs of Customs’ goods clearance activities
  • your name and title
  • your organisation’s name (if applicable)
  • your address and contact details (eg, phone, fax or email)
  • references to the questions and/or sections you are commenting on
  • an indication if you do not want your submission or specific information in your submission (such as commercially sensitive or personal information) to be published at the end of the survey. Please clearly identify the section(s) and state the reasons for wanting it withheld in the comment box.

Contact us

If you have any questions or would like to meet us to discuss elements of the discussion document, please email

Your submission may be made public

We intend to publish all submissions we receive on our website, as well as a summary of submissions covering the main themes that submitters identified, the key decisions that have been made, and the rationale for each decision.

If you do not want your submission to be published on our website, please tell us when you make your submission. If you would like us to withhold specific information when we publish your submission (such as commercially sensitive or personal information), please clearly identify the section(s) and state the reasons for wanting it withheld.

All submissions become public information and any parts of your submission that we don’t publish on our website can still be requested under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) for release. Note that any decision to withhold information can be reviewed by the Ombudsman.

We will consider your request in accordance with the provisions of the OIA. Note that any decision to withhold information can be reviewed by the Ombudsman.

Further Information

You can read the Cabinet material: Public consultation on Customs' Proposed Goods Clearance Fees (PDF 1.2 MB). 

Read frequently asked questions and answers about the review and proposed new charges.

Next steps

Following consultation, all submissions will be considered and we will present our recommendations to the Minister of Customs.