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

Athol Wilson alw at abcom.co.nz
Tue Jan 6 12:14:23 EST 2015

As an ex Biosecurity Xray technician I can confirm that most incoming 
bags are scanned for Biosecurity issues, although Australian and NZ 
residents with nothing to declare generally pass straight through when 
their flight departed from Australia.
For Biosecurity items, failure to declare is an offence. If really in 
doubt, don't tick the box concerned - say so and ask for help when 
presenting your declaration. These guys are not out to make life 
difficult and genuinely want to be helpful, but NZ is an island and free 
of many pests and diseases common elsewhere overseas and we want it to 
remain so. Often if they see something, like a jar of face cream (it 
looks like honey), they will just ask and accept your answer.
They are not interested in the electronics or other items, except hidden 
drugs, excess alcohol, and weapons, in which case if spotted they would 
alert a customs officer or security.
Customs do not scan incoming bags, unless one has already been targeted 
for a search, if this happens be polite, truthful and cooperative.

As far as medications are concerned, provided they are declared and can 
be legally prescribed in NZ, are in the original correctly labelled 
container showing your passport name, and are in quantities reasonable 
for the duration of your stay there should be no problem.  No customs or 
biosecurity officer wants to feel responsible for the health of visitors 
deprived of their legitimate medications.
If they contained components illegal in NZ, I would personally expect 
them to be held and returned to you on departure and also to assist with 
arrangements about sourcing a supply of a NZ legal replacement.


On 6/01/2015 1:06 p.m., Ewen McNeill wrote:
> On 6/01/15 12:48, Mark Jessop wrote:
>> On a related note, does anybody know how NZ customs might react to a bag
>> full of electronics kits?
> I'm guessing these are kits that will not be leaving the country again 
> with you?  In which case it's potentially going to be treated as 
> importing commercial goods, eg:
> http://www.customs.govt.nz/incommercial/accompanyimports/Pages/default.aspx 
> If _you_ are taking them out again with you, then it'd probably be 
> treated as either "personal allowance" or a temporary import:
> http://www.customs.govt.nz/inprivate/sendingitemstonz/temporaryimports/Pages/default.aspx 
> which gets into the exciting world of ATA Carnets.  (I don't have any 
> experience of how closely NZ checks Carnets, but I have read online of 
> other countries declaring the whole Carnet invalid if there is any 
> mismatch at all from documentation to items either on the way in or 
> out -- one assumes those countries were looking for any excuse to 
> collect extra tax.)
> FWIW, bags are always scanned on the way into New Zealand.  I think 
> they're mostly looking for biosecurity risks (eg, unlike departure 
> points I've never been asked to pull electronics out to be scanned 
> separately).  But AFAIK it's an xray system that would see the same 
> things as other xray systems, so I assume they can see "there be 
> electronics".
> Ewen
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