Cigarettes surrendered to Customs by travellers at NZ Borders

Friday, December 19, 2014

Almost a tonne of tobacco and cigarettes will be stubbed out by Customs officials after travellers surrendered them under New Zealand's new duty-free limits.

The Government says 810kg of tobacco products have been left at the country's borders by travellers unwilling to pay taxes on the products since the duty-free allowance fell from 200 to 50 cigarettes on November 1.

The change has resulted in $259,000 in tobacco revenue being raised.

The abandoned products will be destroyed.

Customs Minister Nicky Wagner says airline passengers were made aware of the change through domestic and international advertising.

"The change to the new limit went smoothly," she said today.

"Most travellers now know about the new duty-free limit."

Associate minister of health Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga says dropping the duty-free concession deters smokers by providing another incentive to quit.

It's in line with the Government's aim of making New Zealand smoke-free by 2025.

"The smoke-free 2025 goal is a challenge, but one that can be realistically achieved with continued and additional efforts on a range of tobacco control fronts," said Mr Lotu-Iiga.
Tobacco and cigarettes sent by mail or cargo are also subject to the new limits.

Customs advises that since November 1, 350kg of cigarettes have been sent by post but held by authorities to allow importers the chance to pay the required taxes or have them destroyed.