Despite the shaky camera work, I think we all recognise a Darlek when we see one.

Border clearance levies

In October 2015 Nathan Guy (the Primary Industries Minister) and Nicky Wagner (the Customs Minister) announced the rate for the new border clearance levy, the levy design and how it is to be paid. The border clearance levy comes into effect on 1 January 2016. The levy will be:

  • NZ$21.57 (incl of GST) for air travellers and those arriving and departing on private craft, and
  • NZ$26.22 (incl of GST) for cruise passengers.

The higher rate for cruise passengers reflects the additional biosecurity assessments required at ports.

Children under two, crew and transit passengers will be exempt, as will the military, Government crisis workers, and anyone who purchased and paid for their ticket in full before 1 January 2016 for travel over the next 12 months.

The levy will be collected by airlines and cruise operators when tickets are purchased and passed on to Customs.  Private aircraft and yachts will be required to pay Customs directly for the arrival and departure parts of the levy when they are cleared for entry.

The levy rate is set for 30 months and will be reviewed at the end of that period to assess its effectiveness and the need for any adjustments.

Minister Guy says  “All travellers are a risk as they could inadvertently carry ‘hitchhiker’ pests or prohibited items with them. The levy will allow border activities to respond to future demand and create a more sustainable platform for border risk management services. In the past, these costs have been met by taxpayers. The Government considers it is fairer for the costs to fall on passengers travelling internationally." [Does this include hitchhikers from another Galaxy?]

“The levy will also be low compared with other countries – Australia’s A$55 passenger charge and the United Kingdom’s £71 long-haul passenger charge,” Ms Wagner says.

Source: Media release at

The questions next year will be: are the Darleks arriving by air or on private crafts, or are they transit passengers?  If the former, who is going to collect the levy?

The more mundane question is: can a Government charge GST on a Government imposed levy?  It appears that they think they can.  But under the definition of "Supply", section 5 of the GST Act, it appears to be missing.  And section 12 only refers to imports of goods under the Customs Act.  Perhaps it is included in the GST omnibus legislation or one of the other bills introduced into the House this year?  To be honest, I've not got the will to look any further.  But if you know send me a message.  So if any Darleks want to know if the New Zealand Government can tax a tax, we can be sure of giving them the correct answer (before they exterminate the lot of us).

The comments in this paper are the personal opinion of the writer and are not necessarily the opinions of Shellock Consulting Ltd.