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Essential and non-essential goods

Below is advice provided by the Ministry of Transport and New Zealand Customs.


Friday 17 April: For updated information on essential and non-essential goods movement, please refer to our COVID-19 section on this website.

27 March 2020:

Companies that have non-essential goods blocking movement of essential goods may apply for permission to move those goods from the port to their CCA for storage. However, they are not authorised to deliver those non-essential goods to their customers.

Port operations

The use of essential workers to move essential goods and provide essential services is paramount and must be prioritised above all other goods and services at the Port.

Only in the following circumstances can non-essential goods at a port be transported:

  1. if essential workers are already located at the port for the purpose of dealing with essential goods; and
  2. if the movement of non-essential goods at the Port does not impact on:
    • the movement of essential goods or
    • the delivery of essential services at the Port; or
  3. if the movement of non-essential goods are required to create space for essential goods and the movement of essential goods within the port and across the supply chain. In this instance, the non-essential goods are classified as essential for the purposes of moving them to an alternative storage facility.

With respect to point 3 above:

  • additional workers that are required to enter the Port, to assist with the movement of non-essential goods to create space for essential goods, become essential workers for the purpose of moving those goods; and
  • those goods should only be moved once to a place of storage to get them out of the way of essential goods.

Permission must be given by New Zealand Customs and can be requested by emailing feedback@customs.govt.nz.

For further information read the Q&A page.

Customs advise companies to ensure that their staff meet the guidelines on necessary precautions as laid out on the COVID-19 website.