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New Zealand government introduces border clearance levy

New Zealand government introduces border clearance levy
Despite strenuous objections by Cruise New Zealand and the Tourism Industry Association of New Zealand, the New Zealand government is pushing ahead with a travel tax on domestic and international visitors.

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy and Minister for Customs Nicky Wagner issued a joint statement today advising that the new levy will be introduced on January 1.

Cruise New Zealand gm Raewyn Tan, together with a Coalition Against Travel Tax (CATT), had lobbied for the introduction of the levy to be delayed until January 2017 to allow for consultation with the industry.

CATT and Tan had argued that the tax was rushed through the May Budget without adequate consultation.

They said the tax ignores a long-standing understanding in New Zealand that border services are a public good and should therefore be funded from general taxation.

For cruise ship passengers the new levy to cover border clearance costs is NZ$22.80, plus GST (goods and services tax). It is NZ$18.76 for air travellers.

Today’s statement said the levy is higher for cruise ship passengers because of the additional time and resources needed for biosecurity risk assessments at ports.

Crew and passengers in transit are exempt from the tax. So are children under 2 and people who buy their tickets for travel in 2016 before next January 1.