What We Do and Where We Are Heading


Our functions

The New Zealand Customs Service (Customs) provides essential border services and infrastructure that protect New Zealand and advance our economy. We have three core functions:

  • Protecting New Zealand’s border
  • Promoting and facilitating secure and efficient trade and travel
  • Collecting Crown revenue.

We seek to protect New Zealand from risks and threats at the border while having minimal adverse impact on legitimate trade and travel, as these are significant contributors to New Zealand’s economic growth.

Customs collects around 18% of the Crown’s total core tax revenue each year. We work with other agencies to provide and improve assurance over the collection of Crown revenue at the border.

The services Customs provides include: 

  • facilitating the flow of legitimate people, goods, and craft across our border
  • collecting Crown revenue
  • enforcing the law, which includes identifying and seizing prohibited imports and exports
  • providing information, intelligence, and risk assessment products to external customers, and also to support Customs’ frontline
  • monitoring whether traders and travellers are complying with border requirements, and providing assurance over trade security and the border revenue system
  • providing policy advice to ministers on issues relating to the border and revenue
  • participating in the international customs community by contributing to the development of international customs policy and through our relationships with overseas customs and law enforcement bodies.
  • supporting the economic, protection, and security outcomes of other agencies.

Through these services we prevent harm from a range of risks, including risks to New Zealanders’ security, health and safety, and their values, and to the collection of Crown revenue. By deterring and responding to offending, our frontline and offshore presence, and our targeted interventions, help to create a low-risk border.

Customs’ contribution to the Government’s priorities

Customs’ outcomes and priorities contribute to two of the Government’s core priorities that aim to build a brighter future for New Zealand: building a more competitive and productive economy; and delivering better public services.

We promote and facilitate secure and efficient trade and travel as this contributes to New Zealand’s economic competitiveness and to the Government’s Business Growth Agenda goals of increasing New Zealand’s exports and the value of tourism. By managing the border effectively, Customs continues to contribute to New Zealand’s reputation as a highly desirable and safe destination for travel and a trustworthy country to trade with.

Customs contributed to the Government’s priorities and to New Zealand through the outcomes we aimed to achieve in 2016/17: 

Protection – New Zealand is more safe and secure through reduced risks to New Zealand’s interests arising from international trade and travel

Trade – New Zealand’s trade flows more freely through improved access to markets, and more secure and efficient border processes

Travel – Travel to and from New Zealand flows more freely through more secure and efficient border processes

Revenue – The rate of collection of due Crown revenue is maintained.