Prohibitions and restrictions

Some items are prohibited and cannot be imported into New Zealand, and some require approval to import.


Some items are prohibited – for example, objectionable publications and certain dog tracking collars – and approval cannot be given to import them into New Zealand.

Other items may be allowed in if you have the required approval to import. Approval must be obtained before these goods are brought into the country.

Agricultural items and food

The increasing volume of trade and travel is placing pressure on our biosecurity system. New pests and diseases can not only have an impact on human health but can also damage agriculture and horticultural production, forestry and tourism, and trade in international markets.

Travellers arriving in NZ

Travellers must declare to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI):

  • Food of any kind
  • Plants or parts of plants (alive or dead)
  • Animals (alive or dead) or their products
  • Equipment used with animals
  • Equipment such as camping gear, golf clubs, and used bicycles
  • Biological specimens.

Travellers who fill out the Biosecurity/Quarantine section of the Passenger Arrival Card (PDF 312 KB) incorrectly risk an instant fine of $400, and could be fined up to $100,000, or get a prison term of up to five years, for serious breaches of New Zealand's biosecurity laws.

Customs is unable to answer any questions that relate to agricultural or biosecurity items eg, the types of foods you can bring into New Zealand. For this information, you must contact MPI.

Agricultural items and foods imported into New Zealand

Customs has alerts in its computer system against the tariff items in the Working Tariff Document of New Zealand for a wide range of items such as, animals, plants, dairy products etc, which require biosecurity and/or food safety approval to be imported.

The tariff for the items that require approval are set out in the Customs Import Permit list (XLS 345 KB). 

They are items requiring:

  • Biosecurity clearance are prefixed by codes MAF and MUD/MAF
  • Food safety clearances are prefixed by the code FSA.

Further information on agricultural requirements can be found on MPIs website.

Legislation: Biosecurity Act 1993Food Act 1981.

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 importation of the Antarctic toothfish and Patagonian toothfish into New Zealand is prohibited under Customs Import Prohibition (Toothfish) Order 2009 unless the importer has a valid catch document.

Authority: Ministry for Primary Industries.

Anthrax prevention – importing brushes that contain animal hair or bristle

Approval is required from the MPI to import brushes that contain animal hair or bristle, such as hairbrushes.

Chemical weapons and chemicals that may be used to manufacture of chemical weapons

New Zealand is a signatory to a number of international protocols and conventions, aimed at eliminating the use of chemical weapons in war. Approval is required from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, under the Chemical Weapons (Prohibition) Act 1996, to import chemical weapons and some chemicals. For further informaton see chemicals that require approval to import and export (DOC 483 KB).

Chewing tobacco

New Zealand has strict controls on the importation of tobacco for sale. There is an absolute prohibition in the Smoke-Free Environments Act 1990 on the importation for sale of tobacco, which is suitable for chewing, or any other oral use other than smoking. Approval cannot be given to import chewing tobacco for sale.

Authority: Ministry of Health.

Children's crayons, finger paints, and watercolour paints

To protect children from toxic elements (such as lead, mercury and chromium) in their graphic materials, there are strict controls on importing children's water colour paints, finger paints, and crayons.

These materials must meet the conditions set in the Graphic Materials Group Standard 2009.  If you have any questions abuot the importation of these goods contact the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

The obligation is on importers to establish that the substances they are importing do not fall within the scope of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act 1996 you are in any doubt you should contact EPA.

Cloned or hybrid human embryos

One of the purposes of the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology Act 2004 is to prohibit unacceptable practices such as human cloning for reproduction and commercial surrogacy. Customs may detain cloned or hybrid human embryos and their containers, and transfer them to the Ministry of Health.

Controlled drugs and utensils

Controlled drugs

Bringing controlled drugs such as cannabis, methadone or pseudoephedrine into New Zealand is illegal and is prohibited unless you have a licence to import from the Ministry of Health, or you are covered by the exemption outlined below.

Attempting to smuggle or import controlled drugs into New Zealand could result in imprisonment.  Further information regarding the importation of controlled drugs can be obtained from the Ministry of Health.

Travelling with a controlled drug

The Misuse of Drugs Act (MODA) has an exemption for people entering or leaving the country, with up to one month’s supply of a controlled drug. The drug must have been lawfully supplied to the person overseas for the purpose of treating a medical condition. Customs officers seize cannabis and other controlled drugs at the border when they are not satisfied that the controlled drug has been lawfully supplied for the purpose of treating a medical condition:

If you are arriving into New Zealand carrying a controlled drug on you or in your luggage you must ensure:

  • you are carrying the controlled drug for yourself, or on behalf of someone travelling with you in your care or control (eg, parent/child or nurse/patient)
  • you declare the possession of the controlled drug on your incoming Passenger Arrival Card which is inspected by Customs
  • you have a copy of the prescription from your doctor or a letter from your doctor stating that you are being treated with the controlled drug(s), the name of the drug and the dosage
  • supply of the controlled drug specified in the prescription or letter is lawful in the country where the controlled drug was dispensed
  • you carry the controlled drug(s) in their original containers
  • you have a quantity not exceeding one month’s supply of the controlled drug.

Cannabis-based products for medical use supplied in the United States

Most cannabis-based products supplied in the United States of America cannot be carried with you when entering or leaving New Zealand.

Federal law in the United States prohibits the supply of most cannabis-based products. This means that under New Zealand law, cannabis-based products for medical use from the United States cannot be considered lawfully supplied, even with a doctor's authorisation for the product.

Three cannabis-based pharmaceuticals (Marinol, Syndros and Cesamet) are federally approved and can be imported provided you meet the terms of the exemption.

Cannabis and methamphetamine utensils

There is a prohibition – and approval cannot be given – to import certain drug-taking equipment. This includes bongs and hash pipes and parts of any cannabis or methamphetamine utensil covered by the Misuse of Drugs (Prohibition of Cannabis Utensils and Methamphetamine Utensils) Notice 2014 (PDF 1.07MB).

Bongs and hash pipes with one or more of the following features are prohibited under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975:

  • more than 2 holes
  • more than 1 inhalation hose or breathing port
  • provision for cooling smoke by drawing the smoke through water
  • a metal, glass, or ceramic bowl
  • an insertion placed in a bowl that is a gauze, wire mesh, screen, or insertion made of material that is not designed or intended to be burnt or dissolved in the bowl
  • Roach clips with a pincer or tweezer action if they depict cannabis fruit, cannabis seed, or any part of the cannabis plant, or what could reasonably be taken to be a depiction of cannabis fruit, cannabis seed, or any part of a cannabis plant.

Methamphetamine utensils (p pipes) with the following features are prohibited under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975:

  • a bowl or base of made of glass, metal, ceramic, or another flameproof and heat conducting material
  • a stem leading directly off the bowl and ending with a mouth piece
  • no insertion (of gauze, wire mesh screen, or of another material that is not designed or intended to be burnt of dissovled) between the bowl and stem
  • a hole either at the top of the bowl or on the stem
  • any item that has been modified for methamphetamine use

Dog tracking devices

Certain dog-tracking devices are illegal in New Zealand because they operate on the same radio frequencies as equipment used by people travelling and working in rural areas, such as forestry workers, Department of Conservation rangers, or search and rescue crew. This spectrum is licensed to those operators and must not be used by other devices.

Legislation: The Radiocommunications Regulations (Prohibited Equipment – Dog Tracking Devices) Notice 2012 which came into effect from 1 March 2012, prohibits the importation of radio equipment (and their parts) used for, or with the primary purpose of being used for, tracking or locating dogs or other animals that operate in the frequencies 151.820 MHz, 151.880 MHz, 151.940 MHz, 154.570 MHz and 154.600 MHz, including, but not limited to, the following makes and models operating within these frequencies:

  1. Garmin Alpha 100
  2. Garmin Astro 220 system
  3. Garmin Astro 320 system
  4. Garmin DC 20 collar
  5. Garmin DC 30 collar
  6. Garmin DC 40 collar
  7. SportDOG TEK equipment.

Before you buy, be sure to check whether the device may be imported, is acceptable for use in New Zealand, and authorised for a radio licence.

Authority: Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment - Radio Spectrum.

Dogs

New Zealand has strict rules governing the importation of animals and their semen and embryos. Some breeds of dog may not be imported at all.

Prohibited breeds

The following breeds of dog may not be brought into New Zealand:

  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • Brazilian Fila
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Japanese Tosa
  • Perro de Presa Canario.

The prohibition includes any embryo, ova or semen from these breeds.

Other breeds

To import other breeds of dogs, or the semen or embryos of a dog into New Zealand, the importer or their agent will need to provide the New Zealand Customs Service with:

  • a declaration (available from Customs) which is to be made in New Zealand, stating that, to the best of their knowledge and belief, the dog, embryo, or semen is not one of the above breeds; and
  • a certificate from a registered veterinarian in the country of export stating that after due enquiry and/or physical examination of the dog, they have no reason to doubt the owners/importers advice that the dog, embryo, or semen is not one of the above breeds or types of dogs. This certificate is included in the MPI Animal Health Standard form.

For further information on the importation of dogs and other domestic pets, including any charges, refer to Import Animals.

Legislation: Dog Control Act 1996.

Authority: Department of Internal Affairs.

Endangered species

The Trade in Endangered Species Act 1989 allows New Zealand to fulfil its international obligations under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

CITES is designed to regulate trade in endangered, threatened, or exploited species. It covers live plants and animals, as well as products made from them – such as those listed below – which can only be imported into New Zealand with the required approval.

Goods that require both import and export approvals

  • Medicines that contain bear, tiger, turtle, musk, Aucklandia root, etc
  • Any elephant items, including ivory jewellery, carvings, tusks, etc
  • Any whale/cetacean items, such as whalebone carvings, dolphin teeth, etc
  • Big cat skins or coats
  • Any item made from turtle meat or marine turtle shell
  • Many big game hunting trophies
  • Some orchids and cycads.

If you are in any doubt, please check with the Department of Conservation before importing or exporting any endangered species item.

Explosives, including fireworks

New Zealand has strict controls on the importation of explosives.

Import permits for all explosives, including fireworks, are issued by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and must be presented to Customs. The range of explosives includes items such as:

  • Fireworks
  • Detonators
  • Gunpowder
  • Smokeless powders
  • TNT
  • Propellants
  • Igniters
  • Safety fuses
  • Flares
  • Model rocket engines
  • Bombs, grenades, torpedoes, mines, missiles, and similar munitions of war that contain an explosive charge
  • Flares in used Japanese motor vehicles.

The obligation is on importers to establish that the substances they are importing do not fall within the scope of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act 1996. If you are in any doubt you should contact EPA.

False or misleading goods

In order to protect New Zealand consumers from unsafe and incorrectly specified merchandise there are various controls on the importation of a number of goods.

Goods bearing a label or other form of identification which contains a false or misleading representation as to their quality and country of origin are prohibited imports.

Legislation: Fair Trading Act 1986.

Authority: Ministry of Consumer Affairs.

Hazardous substances

To fulfill our international environmental obligations, and to preserve and protect our own environment from toxic and hazardous effects, New Zealand has strict controls on the importation of a wide range of hazardous substances.

Hazardous Substances

Under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act 1996, a hazardous substance means any substance that has one or more of the following hazardous properties:

  • Explosiveness (eg, fireworks)
  • Flammability (eg, fuels, solvents)
  • A capacity to oxidise (eg, peroxides, hypochlorites)
  • Corrosiveness (eg, acids, ammonia)
  • Toxicity (eg, pesticides, some industrial chemicals)
  • Ecotoxicity (eg, pesticides, chemicals, oils).

Items covered by the HSNO Act

Hazardous substances, as defined above, are covered by the HSNO Act 1996. These include pure chemicals as well as products such as glues, paints, pesticides, regardless of how they are packaged or presented.

In addition, manufactured articles that include or incorporate any kind of explosive substance are considered 'hazardous substances' and thus covered by the HSNO Act.

Asbestos

Raw asbestos cannot be imported into New Zealand. If you wish to import raw asbestos into New Zealand, you will need to make an application to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA). Please contact the EPA for advice on this process.

The obligation is on importers to establish that the substances they are importing do not fall within the scope of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act 1996. If you are in any doubt you should contact the Environmental Protection Authority.

Hazardous wastes

The importation of hazardous wastes is covered by the Basel Convention – such as used automotive batteries, e-waste (old electrical equipment, computers, printers and TVs), waste oil – requires approval from the Environmental Protection Authority under Imports and Exports (Restrictions) Prohibition Order (No. 2) 2004.

Laser pointers (high power)

Hand-held high power laser pointers are prohibited to import without a consent from the Ministry of Health. This consent must be issued before the goods arrive in New Zealand. This includes high power laser pointers brought into the country by travellers.

The restriction refers to hand-held laser pointers with a power output of more than 1 milliwatt (the colour of the beam is unimportant). The importer must be able to produce proof (label or otherwise) that the laser is not high power. The restriction does not cover laser distance measuring devices, surveying devices, rescue flares, and devices with attachments for mounting on a rifle. 

More information can be found on the  Ministry of Health website.

Legislation: Customs Import Prohibition (High-power Laser Pointers) Order 2013.

Marine mammals such as seals, whales, dolphins, porpoises

For the purposes of conserving animal species, there are controls on importing marine mammals, and parts of marine mammals, into New Zealand – for example, seals, whales, dolphins and porpoises.

Legislation: Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978.

Authority: Department of Conservation.

Money

Anyone carrying NZ$10,000 or more (or foreign equivalent) in cash on their person or in their baggage, into or out of New Zealand, must complete a NZCS 337: Border Cash Report (PDF 46 KB) as part of their entry or clearance procedures.

Cash means physical currency, bearer-negotiable instruments, or both.

A bearer-negotiable instrument means:

  • A bill of exchange
  • A cheque
  • A promissory note
  • A bearer bond
  • A traveller’s cheque
  • A money order, postal order, or similar order
  • Any instrument prescribed by regulations under the Act.

This legislation does not prohibit the import or export of cash sums of NZ$10,000 or more – it simply requires that these sums are reported. False, misleading or non-reporting of cash may result in its forfeiture and a fine.

Legislation: The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 requires a report to be completed by every person who moves NZ$10,000 or more in cash into or out of New Zealand.

Authority: New Zealand Police.

Motor vehicles with inaccurate odometers

Motor vehicles with an odometer which incorrectly records the distance the vehicle has been driven, and motor vehicles without an odometer, can only be imported with consent from the Minister of Customs.To apply for a consent contact us.

The Minister of Customs has given consent to import the following vehicle types that are not fitted with an odometer:

  • Tractors classified in 87.01 of the Tariff;
  • Motor vehicles Customs is satisfied have been specially adapted for motor sport, including racing vehicles such as rally, single-seater, saloons, speedway cars, and motor vehicles that have been specially adapted, for example with roll cages for racing. See 23.7 of the Tariff.
  • Damage or disassembled motor vehicles Customs is satisfied have been imported for restoration in New Zealand;
  • Vehicles specially designed for travelling on snow; golf cars and similar vehicles classified in heading 87.03 of the Tariff;
  • Special-purpose motor vehicles, other than those particularly designed for the transport of persons or goods (for example, breakdown lorries, crane lorries, fire-fighting vehicles, concrete-mixer lorries, road sweeper lorries, spraying lorries, mobile workshops, mobile radiological units) classified in heading 87.05 of the Tariff;
  • Works trucks, self propelled, not fitted with lifting or handling equipment, of the type used in factories, warehouses, dock areas or airport for short distance transport of goods; tractors of the type used on railway station platforms, classified in heading 87.09 of the Tariff;
  • Tanks and other armoured vehicles, with or without weapons, classified in heading 87.10 of the Tariff;
  • Motorised invalid carriages classified in heading 87.13 of the Tariff;
  • Trailers and semi-trailers; other vehicles, not mechanically propelled classified in heading 87.16 of the Tariff;
  • Veteran (pre 1918) motor vehicles;
  • Damaged and used motor vehicles with incorrect odometer readings imported for parts
  • Motor vehicles that have had their original odometer replaced with a tachograph, provided Customs is satisfied that the correct mileage is displayed.

Legislation: Customs Import Prohibition Order 2017, Customs and Excise Act 1996.

Objectionable material

Any material or publication which might be considered objectionable must be declared on arrival in New Zealand.

The definition of publication includes – but is not limited to – films, videos, computer games, DVDs, CD-ROMs, books, posters, music recordings, magazines, photographs, paintings, t-shirts and computer files.

A publication is objectionable if it describes, depicts, expresses or otherwise deals with matters such as sex, horror, crime, cruelty or violence in such a manner that the availability of the publication is likely to be injurious to the public good.

Objectionable publications are prohibited imports and will be seized.

Legislation: Section 54 Customs and Excise Act 1996, Publications imported into New Zealand are subject to the provisions of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993.

Ozone depleting substances and goods containing these substances

To fulfill our international environmental obligations, and to preserve and protecte our own environment. New Zealand has strict controls on the importation of a wide range of ozone depleting substances.

Approval from the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is required under the Ozone Layer Protection Act 1996 to import aerosol sprays containing:

  • CFCs 11, 12, 13, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 211, 212, 213, 214, 215, 216, and 217
  • A range of HCFCs and HBFCs
  • Halons 1211, 1301, and 2402,
  • Carbon tetrachloride
  • Methyl bromide
  • Methyl chloroforms

Approval is also requried for goods containing ozone depleting substances – such as, aerosols; dehumidifiers, refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, supermarket display cases, heat pumps and water coolers that contain CFCs; dry cleaning machines; fire extinguishers containing or designed to contain halons, and plastic foams manufactured using CFCs.

Persistent organic pollutants

To fulfill our international environmental obligations, and to preserve and protect our own environment from toxic and hazardous effects, New Zealand has strict controls on the importation of a wide range of hazardous substances.

Import permits are required for Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) covered by the Stockholm Convention, for example, aldrin, chlordane, dieldrin, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

Anyone wishing to import a POP covered by the Stockholm Convention must obtain prior approval from the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

The obligation is on importers to establish that the substances they are importing do not fall within the scope of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act 1996. If you are in any doubt you should contact the EPA.

Prison Goods

Importing goods manufactureed or produced using prison labour is prohibited under Section 54, Schedule 1 of the Customs and Excise Act 1996.

Psychoactive substances

The Psychoactive Substances Act 2013 aims to regulate the availability of psychoactive substances in New Zealand to protect the health of, and minimise harm to, individuals who use psychoactive substances. These substances and products must be approved for use and pose no more than a low risk of harm to the individuals who use it.

Prescription medicines

The importation of prescription medicines is controlled by the Ministry of Health under the Medicines Act 1981.

Personal imports (accompanying a traveller)

If you arrive in New Zealand carrying prescription medicine on your person or in your luggage you may only bring it in if you:

  • Declare the medicine on your Passenger Arrival Card (PDF 29 KB)
  • Have a copy of the medicine’s prescription or a letter from your doctor stating that you are being treated with the medicine
  • Have the medicine in its original pharmacy container, with your name on the label, and strength and dosage details clearly stated
  • Have no more than three months supply (oral contraceptives, where a six month supply is permitted, are the exception).

Having medicines sent from overseas

If you are having medicine sent to you from overseas you will need to prove to the Ministry of Health that you have a reasonable excuse for the importation. In most cases the Ministry of Health will be satisfied a reasonable excuse has been established when the importer presents, either:

  • an original letter from a New Zealand authorised prescriber (doctor, dentist, midwife or nurse prescriber) or
  • an original prescription from a New Zealand authorised prescriber (doctor, dentist, midwife or nurse prescriber).

Commercial imports

To import medicines for commercial purposes, that is, to import medicines for other than personal use by the person importing, you must either:

  • hold a licence issued by the Ministry of Health under the Medicines Act 1981 that would allow you to sell, supply or distribute medicines of this nature; or
  • be entitled under the Medicines Act 1981 to an exemption from such licensing and have been granted consent by the Minister of Health to sell, supply or distribute the medicine eg, a medical doctor.

Further information

Further information regarding the importation of medicines can be obtained at medsafe.govt.nz.

Legislation: The importation of prescription medicines is controlled by the Ministry of Health under the Medicines Act 1981 and the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975.

Radio jamming equipment

A radio jammer is an electronic device that deliberately disrupts or jams reception of radio signals including cell phones and GPS.

It is illegal under the Radiocommunications Regulations (Prohibited Equipment – Radio Jammer Equipment) Notice 2011 to import, manufacture, sell or use a radio jammer in New Zealand except by by permission from Radio Spectrum Management.

Radioactive substances

To fulfill our international obligations, and to preserve and protect our own environment from toxic and hazardous effects, New Zealand has strict controls on the importation of radioactive material.

Approval is required from the Office of Radiation Safety under the Radiation Protection Act 2016.

Southern bluefin tuna

The Customs Import Prohibition (Southern Bluefin Tuna) Order 2013 prohibits the importation of southern bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii) unless it has appropriate documentation validating that the fish has been legally caught. The prohibition will not apply to non-commercial importations of less than 10 kilograms, or to fish parts.

New Zealand is a signatory to the Convention for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna which aims to ensure the conservation of southern bluefin tuna (SBT) through appropriate management. SBT is a highly migratory, high-value species, at risk of illegal, unregulated, or unreported fishing. There is now a mandatory catch documentation scheme for the fishing of SBT. This scheme obliges signatories to the Convention to not allow the import of SBT unless it is accompanied by a verified catch document.

For more information, see The Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT), an intergovernmental organisation responsible for the management of southern bluefin tuna throughout its distribution.

Alerts are in place on the Customs system against the specific tariff codes for Southern Bluefin Tuna, requiring the importer to provide the verified catch document prior to the importation’s clearance.

Authority: Ministry for Primary Industries.

Trout and trout products

There are controls on importing trout and trout products into New Zealand.

Trout (live and dead) and trout products except for consignments of  less than 10 kilograms which are not for sale are prohibited under the Customs Import Prohibition (Trout) Order 2015, unless the importer has a permit to import from the Minister of Conservation.

Authority: Department of Conservation.

Tyres

In order to protect New Zealand consumers from unsafe and incorrectly specified merchandise there are various controls on the importation of tyres.

The Import Control (Tyres) Conditional Prohibition Order 1996, prohibits, except with the consent of the Minister of Commerce, the importation of new and used tyres, that:

  • Have an internal rim diameter of less that 508 millimetres, and
  • Are imported under Tariff subheadings 4011.10, 4011.20, 4011.92, 4012.10 or 4012.20 or are on wheels imported under Tariff subheading 8708.70, and
  • either:
    • have not been retreaded and were not manufactured to any of the standards of specifications set out in Part 1 of the Schedule; or 
    • have been retreaded and were not retreaded to any of the standards or specifications set out in Part 2 of the Schedule; or
    • have the brand name, standard codes or associated markings removed, obscured, or otherwise made illegible.

Tyres that do not meet any of the following standards and specifications are prohibited, except with the consent of the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs:

  • Part 1 of the Schedule, for tyres that have not been retreaded:
    • New Zealand Standard (NZS) 5453
    • New Zealand Standard (NZS) 5464
    • Australia Design Rule (ADR) 23/00
    • Australian Design Rule (ADR) 23/01
    • Economic Commission of Europe Regulation (ECE) 30/01
    • Economic Commission of Europe Regulation (ECE) 30/02
    • Economic Commission of Europe Regulation (ECE) 54
    • Japanese Industrial Standard (JIS) 4230
    • US Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 109
  • Part 2 of the Schedule, for tyres that have been retreaded
    • New Zealand Standards (NZS) 5423
    • Australian Standard (AS) 1973
    • British Standard (BS) AU144b.

Authority: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

UN sanctions

The New Zealand Government has imposed export and/or import sanctions against a number of countries, under the United Nations Act 1946, in response to resolutions adopted by the United Nations Security Council.

Other than rough diamonds (see below) goods covered by the sanctions may not be imported into New Zealand, except with the consent of the New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 

Rough diamonds

United Nations sanctions also include controls on the import and export of rough diamonds. The United Nations Act 1946, United Nations Sanctions (Kimberley Process) Regulations 2004 prohibit the importation 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.

Authority: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Unsafe goods

In order to protect New Zealand consumers from unsafe and incorrectly specified merchandise there are various controls on the importation of a number of goods.

Unsafe goods notices and product safety standards are in place under the Fair Trading Act 1986 for the following goods. Goods, which do not comply with these notices or standards, are prohibited imports.

Authority: Ministry of Consumer Affairs.

Weapons

Firearms, knives and explosives in all their many forms are considered potentially offensive weapons and could be classed as such. Offensive weapons may be banned from importation into New Zealand, or require a special permit. 

All firearms and weapons must be declared to Customs upon arrival. Once an item has been imported, the permit for that item is no longer valid.

Further information regarding banned weapons and the general restrictions on the import of firearms and offensive weapons can be obtained from New Zealand Police.

Firearms and parts of firearms

Importing firearms, parts of firearms, restricted weapons (eg mace, pepper sprays, grenades) and restricted airguns into New Zealand is strictly controlled under the Arms Act 1983.

An arms permit to import from the New Zealand Police is needed to import the following:

Firearms

Including pistols, starting pistols and military style semi-automatic firearms (MSSAs).

Restricted weapons

  • Anti-tank projectors and ammunition
  • Grenade dischargers and grenades containing explosives
  • Incendiary grenades, including the type commonly known as a Molotov cocktail and consisting of:
    • a container or containers, the only or principal contents of which is an inflammable liquid or mixture
    • a means of ignition of the inflammable substance or mixture, whether that means a wick, an explosive or other device, a fuse or a chemical
  • Machine carbines or guns, submachine carbines or guns, and machine pistols, of any kind whatsoever, including those operated by gas or compressed air and including all other firearms capable of full automatic fire
  • Mines of an explosive nature, of any kind whatsoever
  • Mortars of military kinds and/or their ammunition
  • Rocket launchers and/or their ammunition
  • Every firearm, weapon and device designed for the purpose of discharging any lachrymatory, deleterious, or toxic gas, smoke, or other stupefying or overpowering thing capable of rendering any person either wholly or partially incapable of resistance, including stun guns, tasers, and pepper spray
  • Any gas, substance, material, or thing specifically intended or adapted for use in conjunction with any firearm, weapon, or device specified above.

Restricted airguns

A restricted airgun is an airgun (with or without any of its attachments) that either:

  • Has the appearance of being a pistol, restricted weapon, or military style semi-automatic (MSSA); or
  • Is designed for use in airsoft or paintball sports and has the appearance of being a firearm capable of full automatic fire.

Other types of firearms

  • Bolt gun or stud gun
  • Humane killer
  • Tranquiliser gun
  • Stock-marking pistol
  • Flare pistol
  • Deer net gun
  • A pistol that is part of a rocket or line throwing equipment
  • Miniature cannon
  • Any antique firearm
  • Starting pistols
  • Replica firearms (a replica firearm is an exact working copy of the original firearm and is capable of firing live ammunition).

Some firearm parts.

Offensive weapons

Approval from the Police is required under the Customs Import Prohibition Order 2017 to import the following offensive weapons. The permit to import must be obtained prior to the weapons arriving in New Zealand:

  • Knuckle-dusters, knives incorporating knuckle-dusters, swordsticks, and any weapon disguised to give the appearance of another article
  • Any knife having a blade that opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring, or other device in or attached to the handle of the knife (sometimes known as a flick knife or flick gun)
  • Any knife having a blade that is released from the handle or sheath by the force of gravity or the application of centrifugal force, and that, when released, is locked in place by means of a button, spring, lever or other device (sometimes known as a gravity knife or butterfly knife)
  • With the exception of any folding pocket knife with a blade less than 10 cm in length, any knife that:
    • is designed for ease of concealment on the person or has a double-edged blade that is designed or
    • suitable for stabbing or throwing (as opposed to cutting); or 
    • is a knife  of the kind sometimes known as a fist knife, gimlet knife, punch dagger, push dagger, push dirk, push knife, T-handled knife, or throwing knife
  • Bayonets.

Further information regarding the restrictions on the import of offensive weapons can be obtained from New Zealand Police.

Cluster munitions and anti-personnel mines

There are strict controls on the importation of cluster munitions and anti-personnel mines for further information contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT).

Approval from the MFAT is required under the Cluster Munitions Prohibition Act 2009 and the Anti-Personnel Mines Act 1998 to import cluster munitions and anti-personnel mines.