The Working Tariff Document (WTD) has been reprinted with an effective date of 30 December 2018. Read more
Prohibitions and restrictions
Some items are prohibited from export and cannot be sent out of New Zealand.
Some exports are prohibited for a range of concerns including endangered species, animal welfare, and survival of marine mammals, to a determination to rid the world of anti-personnel mines, chemical weapons and ozone-depleting chemicals. Other items are on the prohibited list to help protect New Zealand’s trade, cultural riches, and agricultural economy.
Products produced by the agricultural, forestry and fisheries industries are critical to the New Zealand economy. Agricultural and horticultural products in particular need to maintain high levels of quality to continue to be successful and competitive in international markets. Customs has an important role in ensuring that our primary products are exported according to regulations which are designed to maintain marketability and quality control.
Exporters of meat must be registered with both:
Legislation: Meat Board Act 2004.
For reasons of animal welfare there are controls on the export of:
- Live animals (unless exempted)
- Cattle, deer, goats and sheep being exported for slaughter.
Authority: Ministry for Primary Industries.
Antarctic toothfish and Patagonian toothfish
New Zealand is a signatory to a number of international protocols and conventions which are aimed at conserving animals. The export of the Antarctic toothfish and Patagonian toothfish from New Zealand is prohibted under Customs Export Prohibition (Toothfish) Order 2009 unless the exporter has a valid catch document.
Authority: Ministry for Primary Industries.
Birds – other than domestic birds – and other wildlife
To conserve animal species there are controls on the export of birds – other than domestic birds – and other wildlife from New Zealand. Their export is prohibited under the Wildlife Act 1953 unless the exporter has a permit to export from the Department of Conservation.
Chemical weapons and chemicals that may be used in the manufacture of weapons
New Zealand is signatory to a number of international protocols and conventions, aimed at protecting the environment. This includes controlling the export from New Zealand of chemical weapons and chemicals that may be used in the manufacture of chemical weapons. Approval is required from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, under the Chemical Weapons (Prohibition) Act 1996, to export chemical weapons and some chemicals. For further informaton see chemicals that require approval to import and export (DOC 483 KB).
Cloned or hybrid human embryos
One of the purposes of the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology Act 2004 is to ban the export of cloned or hybrid human embryos helps to prevent the growth of unacceptable human cloning for reproductive purposes. Customs may detain cloned or hybrid human embryos and their containers, and transfer them to the Ministry of Health.
If you are departing New Zealand and are carrying controlled drugs, such as methadone, on your person or in your accompanying luggage, you may be able to export it provided that you declare the drugs to Customs.
You must be able to prove to us that the drug:
- is required for treating your medical condition
- has been lawfully supplied to you in New Zealand – a letter from your doctor or a valid label on the container with your name and the quantity and strength of the drugs would be sufficient
- have not more than one month's supply of a controlled drug with you. If you have more than one month's supply a license to export from the Ministry of Health will be required.
All exporters of dairy products must be registered with the Ministry for Primary Industries. Only an approved exporter may export to:
- Japan – all prepared edible fats
- The Dominican Republic – all milk powder
- The EU – butter, cheddar cheese, and cheese for processing to be imported into the EU under New Zealand’s current access quota
- The USA – all cheddar, low fat, NSPF, and American-type cheeses.
Hazardous chemicals and pesticides
New Zealand is signatory to a number of international protocols and conventions aimed at protecting the environment. This includes controlling the export of hazardous chemicals and pesticides from New Zealand, such as, 2.4.5-T, Crocidolite and Lindane.
Approval from the Environmental Protection Authority is required to export these chemicals and pesticides under the Imports and Exports (Restrictions) Prohibition Order (No. 2) 2004.
New Zealand is signatory to a number of international protocols and conventions aimed at protecting the environment. This includes controlling the export of hazardous wastes covered by the Basel Convention: for example, used automotive batteries, (this includes e-waste and old electrical equipment such as computers, printers and TVs).
Approval is required from the Environmental Protection Authority to export hazardous waste under Imports and Exports (Restrictions) Prohibition Order (No. 2) 2004.
Exporters of apricots, avocados, blackcurrants, boysenberries, cherries (sweet), chestnuts, kiwifruit to Australia, nectarines, peaches, persimmons, plums, squash, tamarillos, and truffles must have approval to export from the New Zealand Horticulture Export Authority (HEA).
Exporters of kiwifruit to all destinations other than Australia must have approval to export from Kiwifruit New Zealand. Exporters of kiwifruit to Australia require approval to export from the New Zealand Horticulture Export Authority.
Legislation: New Zealand Horticulture Export Authority Act 1987.
When human remains (for interment) are to be sent from New Zealand, the freight forwarder or airline will usually complete the required Customs formalities. An export entry is not required.
- Rough sawn and dressed timber including mouldings, panelling, furniture blanks*, joinery blanks*, and similar products
- Stumps and roots, salvaged stumps and roots, tree fern trunks or tree fern fibre.
* Furniture blanks, joinery blanks, etc, are lengths of timber cut to a specified size and shape from which a finished article is made. Until such time as the blanks are processed into furniture or other articles it is sawn indigenous timber and requires approval to export.
Live green-lipped mussels with a shell size of less than 50mm in length
To conserve our mussel species the export of live green-lipped mussels with a shell size of less than 50mm in length (includes life stage known as “spat”) is prohibited under the Customs Export Prohibition Order 2014 unless the exporter has a consent to export from the Ministry for Primary Industries.
Living Modified Organisms
New Zealand is signatory to a number of international protocols and conventions aimed at protecting the environment. This includes controlling the export of Living Modified Organisms (LMOs) from New Zealand. Approval from the Ministry for the Environment is required under the Imports and Exports (Living Modified Organisms) Prohibition Order 2005 to export LMOs.
Marine mammals such as seals, whales, dolphins, porpoises
To conserve animal species the export of marine mammals such as seals, whales, dolphins, porpoises, and parts of marine mammals is prohibited under the Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978, unless the exporter has a permit to export from the Department of Conservation.
Ozone layer protection
New Zealand is signatory to a number of international protocols and conventions aimed at protecting the environment. This includes controlling the export of CFCs, halons, carbon tetrachloride, methyl chloroform, methyl bromide, HCFCs and HBFCs from New Zealand.
Persistent Organic Pollutants
New Zealand is signatory to a number of international protocols and conventions aimed at protecting the environment. This includes controlling the export of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), for example, Aldrin, DDT, Dieldrin, Endrin, PCBs that are covered by the Stockholm Convention.
Pounamu (New Zealand Greenstone)
As a conservation measure, approval is required to export pounamu (New Zealand greenstone). However, this prohibition does not apply to:
- Items made from pounamu – for example, jewellery, pendants or sculpture containing pounamu.
- Consignments that are being exported by a single exporter, and in which the total weight of pounamu does not exceed 5 kilograms.
The view of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and the Mawhera Incorporation needs to be sought. The legislation for pounamu is Customs Export Prohibition Order 2014, and requires the approval of the Minister of Customs.
Authority: Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment.
Protected New Zealand objects
Some objects of significant importance to New Zealand's culture and sense of identity need to be protected.
Approval from the Ministry for Culture and Heritage is required under the Protected Objects Act 1975 to export protected New Zealand objects – previously known as antiquities – that have significant importance in terms of the country’s culture and sense of identity. Objects include:
- Māori artefacts over 50 years old
- Bones, feathers, or other parts of the moa or other extinct New Zealand species
- Goods over 50 years old which have national, scientific, or artistic importance such as:
- books, letters and other documents
- parts of ships and aircraft
- photographs and films
- stamps and coins
- traction engines
- veteran and vintage motor vehicles
- works of art.
New Zealand is signatory to a number of international protocols and conventions aimed at protecting the environment. This includes controlling the export of radioactive materials from New Zealand.
For the purposes of conserving animal species the export of toheroa is prohibited under the Customs Export Prohibition Order 2011, unless the exporter has a consent to export from the Ministry for Primary Industries.
The New Zealand Government has imposed export sanctions against a number of countries, under the United Nations Act 1946, in response to resolutions adopted by the United Nations Security Council.
The goods covered by the sanctions may not be exported from or imported into New Zealand, other than rough diamonds (see below), except with the consent of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Authority: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
United Nations sanctions also include controls on the import and export of rough diamonds. The United Nations Sanctions (Kimberley Process) Regulations 2004 prohibit the exportation of rough diamonds unless:
- the shipment is from a country which is a participant in the Kimberley Process
- the importer holds a Kimberley Process Certificate from the country of export
- the original copy of the approval is produced to Customs
- the rough diamonds are imported in a tamper resistant container.
New Zealand participates in a number of non-proliferation arrangements and agreements, which seek to limit the spread of chemical and biological weapons, weapons of mass destruction and their missile delivery systems, and the transfer of conventional weapons and dual-use technologies.
The export of the following types of goods is prohibited unless an exporter has approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
- Firearms and ammunitions (exemptions for export of firearms by private persons)
- "Specially dangerous airguns" require an export permit issued by the Ministry of Foreign affairs and Trade.
ML905. Specially dangerous Airguns
- The airguns known as the Larc International Model 19A and the Larc International Model M19-AMP
- Pre-charged pneumatic air rifles
- Note: Airguns include any air pistol or air rifle; Pre-charged pneumatic air rifles means pre-charged pneumatic air rifles that are not for use in airsoft or paintball sports; ML905 does not include air gun accessories, air gun pellets or other air gun projectiles
- Military goods and technologies (includes these goods being exported by private persons)
- Goods and technologies that can be used in the production, development or delivery of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons
- Conventional weapons
- Dual-use goods that have or may have a military use, such as computers, navigation and marine equipment
- Aircraft and vessels that have or may have a military use
- Chemicals, biological agents, substances and plant pathogens that may be used to manufacture chemical, nuclear and biological weapons
- Anti-personnel mines
- Cluster munitions
- Chemical weapons and a range of chemicals that may be used in the manufacture of chemical weapons (see below for link to list of these chemicals)
- Arms and related materials of all types (in support of UN sanctions) including weapons, ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, paramilitary equipment and parts for all of these goods for exportation to:
- Al Qaida and Taliban
- Cote d’Ivoire
- Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (North Korea)
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Sierra Leone
- Goods to Iran that could contribute to her enrichment-related, or reprocessing, or heavy water related activities, or to the development of nuclear weapons delivery systems
- Controlled items listed on the New Zealand Strategic Goods List, on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade website.
End-use (catch-all) controls
The end-use controls (also known as catch-all controls) cover the export of goods, software and technologies which are not listed on the New Zealand Strategic Goods List, but which may be intended for use relating to:
- The development, production or deployment of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons or their means of delivery in any country
- A military end-use in a country subject to a United Nations Security Council arms embargo
- Use as parts or components of military items listed on the New Zealand Strategic Goods List (categories ML1- ML22) which have been unlawfully exported from New Zealand.
End-use controls focus on the intended end-use of the items rather than their technical characteristics. The new end-use provision is designed to prevent the export of non-listed items where intended for one of the above prohibited end-uses.
Controls on electronic transfers
The electronic export of software or technologies – either listed on the New Zealand Strategic Goods List or captured by the new end-use (catch-all) controls – is prohibited unless an export permit has been obtained from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
See Chemicals that require approval to import and export (DOC 483 KB) for more information.
Authority: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Grape wine made from grapes grown in New Zealand and exported "for sale", requires an approval to export – for each shipment – from the Ministry for Primary Industries. For further information contact the Wine Institute of New Zealand.
Exporters of fruit wine, vegetable wine, and grape wine made from grapes not grown in New Zealand, must be registered with the Ministry for Primary Industries.
Legislation: Wine Act 2003.
Authority: Ministry for Primary Industries.