Maori carving


DUTY AND GOODS AND SERVICES TAX – duty is no longer levied on motor cars or motorcycles. Duty on camper vans and motor homes is 10%. GST is levied on the customs value plus the total cost of shipping. The current rate of GST is 15% on all vehicles that do not have concessionary entry.

TAX FREE ENTRY FOR IMMIGRANTS AND RETURNING NEW ZEALAND NATIONALS – a vehicle would be admitted free of GST (and duty if applicable) provided that the NZ Customs Service was satisfied that the importer has lived overseas for more than 21 months and has the intention of forthwith taking up permanent residence in New Zealand, or is a returning New Zealand national AND the importer has ‘personally owned and personally used’ the vehicle for at least 1 year before their date of departure for New Zealand or the date on which the vehicle was handed over for shipment, whichever is the earlier. If an importer is not present in New Zealand when the vehicle arrives then taxes must be paid and cannot be reclaimed at a later date even when they do arrive to take up residence. The vehicle must not be sold or otherwise disposed of within 2 years of its importation otherwise full taxes must be paid.

EVIDENCE FOR TAX FREE ENTRY – documentary evidence of more than 12 months personal ownership and use of a vehicle must be produced to the NZ Customs Service as follows: dated receipt covering the purchase and showing the actual date of delivery of the vehicle, UK registration document (V5C), evidence of the date on which the vehicle was surrendered and the date on which it was loaded on the vessel for shipment to New Zealand, passport showing permanent residency visa (or a working visa for at least 12 months or a visitor’s visa valid for at least 3 years) and date of entering New Zealand. Returning NZ nationals should provide their passport and comprehensive proof that they have resided outside of New Zealand for the previous 21 months.

CUSTOMS VALUATION IF NOT TAX FREE – the customs value, upon which GST (Goods and Services Tax) is levied, is normally determined as being the actual purchase price paid, less an allowance for depreciation if the vehicle has been personally owned and used by the importer for more than 90 days prior to the date the vehicle arrives in New Zealand, plus the cost of shipment.

DEPRECIATION ALLOWANCE – if a vehicle has been owned and used overseas for more than 90 days then a depreciation allowance can be deducted from the purchase price, before adding the cost of shipment, so as to arrive at a ‘customs value’:

  • less than 90 days = 0.0 %
  • more than 3 but less than 4 months = 13.0 %
  • more than 4 but less than 6 months = 20.0 %
  • more than 6 but less than 9 months = 27.5 %
  • more than 9 but less than 12 months = 35.0 %
  • more than 1 but less than 2 years = 50.0 %
  • more than 2 but less than 3 years = 60.0 %
  • more than 3 but less than 4 years = 70.0 %
  • more than 4 years = 75.0 %.

USE OF OTHER VALUATION METHODS – under certain circumstances, for example if
a vehicle was purchased overseas at an unrealistically low price or a vehicle was acquired as a gift or was bequeathed, then an alternative method of valuation may be used which would involve a calculation working back from a New Zealand market value. Should there be doubts about amounts that would be payable upon importation of a vehicle or any of the customs requirements then the NZ Customs Service can be contacted at (tel: +64 9 300 5399 or 0800 428 786).

QUARANTINE RULES – these are very strict in New Zealand and many cars will need to be cleaned by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) / Biosecurity upon arrival unless they are already spotlessly clean. Pre-shipment cleanliness certificates are not necessary as each vehicle is individually inspected upon arrival in New Zealand.

VEHICLES REGISTERED IN THE NAME OF A COMPANY – in cases where a vehicle has been registered in the name of a company and this company is owned 100 percent by the importer then concessionary entry may be considered provided that documentary evidence is produced to confirm 100 percent ownership of the company. Company cars would also be considered for GST-free entry on a case-by-case basis and it would need to be shown that the importer had full personal use of the vehicle as part of a salary package and that the vehicle was registered in the importer’s name prior to the departure for New Zealand.

LEFT-HAND DRIVE VEHICLES – a left-hand drive vehicle cannot be sold within 5 years of importation if it is newer than 20 years old and it must have been owned and used overseas for at least 90 days. If the vehicle is over 20 years old then it must not be sold within 6 months of importation.

DRIVING LICENCES – A UK driving licence is valid for up to 12 months whereafter it must be converted to a New Zealand licence. Proof of any driving insurance no claims bonus in the UK can be used to reduce premiums in New Zealand.

Full, printable information covering everything on this website and more, including a guide to prices and useful website and contact addresses, can be found in the New Zealand Info Pack (PDF).

NZ | Key FactsNZ | Guide to Shipping
NZ | Customs Rules & TaxesNZ | Import Regulations
NZ | Costs on ArrivalNZ | Info Pack (PDF)