[LCA2015-Chat] Important: NZ Biosecurity + prohibited items

Ewen McNeill lca at ewen.mcneill.gen.nz
Tue Jan 6 10:49:11 EST 2015

On 6/01/15 10:26, Michael Still wrote:
> There is an implication in the rules that you have some way of knowing
> what is a prescription drug in New Zealand.

This is true of many laws in many countries -- it's called "strict 
liability" in the law.  One is expected to be informed of the laws of 
the country (you live in/are visting/etc).

10 seconds with Google turns up:


which seems to have a link to a classification tool that would allow 
searching for your medicine (perhaps by chemical compounds?) and 
determining the classification, if you wished to do so.

In practice, my impression is that New Zealand border control cares about:
- biosecurity (lots!)
- dutyable items (eg, alcohol/tobacco)
- GST collection (ie, bringing in above "personal allowance")
- "drugs"

in approximately that order.

So that in practice if you present a good case for legitimately having 
something in the quantity that you have, that is not a biosecurity risk, 
and it can be fairly easily verified it is what you say it is, then 
there's a reasonable chance you'll be allowed in with it even without 
mountains of paperwork.  (Especially if, eg, you're coming from a "good 

Bringing your prescription medicine in the prescription bottle with your 
name on it would help your case for being legitimate, and verifiable, a 
lot.  Bringing a doctors certificate is probably useful if you have one, 
and maybe essential if you need non-trivial quantities (if someone would 
wonder "is that really all for you", you're probably going to want that 
doctor's certificate :-) ), or it's particularly restricted even in your 
own country.

But New Zealand is a pretty high-trust country in general so you're 
likely to be believed by default if, eg, it looks like "a week's supply 
of a drug legitimately prescribed to me".  Which doesn't make it 
guaranteed/legal.  Just likely to be tolerated in practice, if it were 
something that might be prescribed here too.


PS: Pusedoephedrine containing drugs are the one 
commonly-available-elsewhere thing I'd expect to raise the most eyebrows 
here.  They're basically unobtainium here now (as Precursors to Illegal 
Drugs (tm)), even though they're over the counter in other countries 
(and were here, some years back).  The "is that all for you" 
consideration probably applies double there.

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