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FAQs for individuals and businesses

I’m an overseas supplier, and I’m not sure if I should be sending goods to New Zealand under its closed border that I’ve heard about on the news – what should I do?

New Zealand has not closed its border to goods or trade – imports and exports may continue to operate on the same basis as pre COVID-19.

I’ve tried ordering some things from an online store, but they tell me they can’t send them because COVID-19 means New Zealand has stopped accepting online purchases from overseas – is this true?

Customs has not placed any additional checks or delays on goods ordered from overseas – you are able to continue ordering just as you did prior to the COVID-19 alert levels, whether that be for home or business. If companies choose not to deliver to New Zealand this is not due to any COVID-19 related restrictions by Customs.

The shoes I ordered online are being held up by Customs because of the COVID-19 lockdown – when will I get them?

Customs is not holding up any online orders because of COVID-19. Your courier company may be experiencing increased workloads during this time, which may delay them processing your consignment.

My freight company won’t ship my household goods and personal effects because they say NZ Customs is only allowing essential goods to enter New Zealand – when will this change?

Current Government advice is that all freight can enter and leave the country, and all freight can be distributed and received – subject to all relevant COVID-19 health and safety protocols being adhered to. Customs, and our partner border agencies, continue to process, check and clear all import and export freight, exactly as we did before COVID-19. 

I’m a regular importer with a broker who manages the clearance of my goods.  My broker is telling me that he will not arrange clearance from border agencies until I have paid him.  Is there a quicker way?

In this time of financial restraint, some brokers may be reticent about paying for goods without first having received payment from the importer. To avoid delay, importers can apply online for a deferred payment account.

If the shipment has already arrived and the goods are needed urgently, Customs charges may be paid by credit card or by direct crediting the Customs bank account. Information about these payment options can be found on our website.  

Who should we contact if we have questions about importing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), regarding standards, regulations etc.?  

You should contact the Ministry of Health, Medsafe, via or visit the Medsafe website for more information

Can I import and sell hand sanitiser?

Yes you can import hand sanitiser. You can find more information on our website about importing goods.

For more information on selling hand sanitiser, please first check with the Ministry of Health (MOH) via to confirm that that the product you wish to import conforms to any health standard or regulation.

Who should I contact if I wish to apply for an Ethanol Permit to manufacture hand sanitiser in New Zealand?

Please call our Contact Centre on 0800 428 786 in the first instance. Our representative will give you the appropriate contact details of your local Customs office and Excise team or officer, who will then provide you with the necessary details for you to make application.