New Zealand

Worst case scenario: Significant border levy hike

An increase in costs for travellers makes no sense to the devastated NZ tourism industry

The New Zealand tourism industry is disappointed by the decision made by The New Zealand Customs Service and the Ministry for Primary Industries to significantly increase the border processing levy (BPL).

Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) says tourism operators will be dismayed that the cost is to go up for all travellers crossing New Zealand’s borders from December 1. The BPL will increase from $20.11 to $43.73 per airline passenger return trip, and from $21.06 to $36.72 per cruise passenger (GST included). 

The BPL was introduced in 2016 and is used to fund customs and biosecurity services for all arriving and departing passengers, including New Zealanders. The cost recovery model ran into problems in 2020 when New Zealand’s borders were closed and the Government has since had to directly fund the agencies.

TIA chief executive, Chris Roberts said: “We  are surprised the BPL is going up before we know when our borders will actually open and what demand for travel will be.”

“The new fees are supposed to recover the full cost of the border services over the next three years, but it is impossible to accurately predict what the travel patterns will be.”

Having secure border services in a pandemic is a critical public health requirement, and it is not sensible to reintroduce the full cost recovery model while border restrictions remain in place, Mr Roberts said.

“Many tourism operators are grimly hanging on until borders reopen and visitors return, and any additional disincentive to travel at this time is unwelcome.”

TIA had favoured delaying the resetting of the levy until September 2023, followed by a carefully staged return to a full cost recovery model matching the expected gradual recovery of international travel over the next five years.

To read TIA’s submission to the BPL consultation, go to www.tia.org.nz/advocacy/submissions/read-our-recent-submissions/ 

For more information about the BPL changes, see Customs’ website: www.customs.govt.nz/about-us/news/important-notices/changes-to-border-processing-levies/

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