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Posted: March 16, 2023Category: Q&As

How to Import Vehicles into New Zealand

When importing any type of vehicle into New Zealand there are three main aspects of the process you will need to think about and have sorted; these are Compliance, Transport and Customs.  


  1. Compliance – Meeting NZ Road Standards

When looking at importing a vehicle into New Zealand you need to use an entry certifier to find out if the vehicle meets all the compliance requirements for New Zealand roads. It can be a long process as you need to gather all the evidence that the vehicle meets the required standards. Different vehicles require different standards and you can find out more about what evidence you need here on the NZTA website. After finding out which standards your vehicle needs to meet an Entry Certifier will assess if the vehicle meets these requirements and can be registered for use on New Zealand roads.

Checking if your vehicle meets compliance is very important . If the vehicle doesn’t meet the requirements on arrival to NZ then it may be too late to do anything about it.

If you aren’t ever going to drive the vehicle on the road then you don’t need to register it or meet any standards. This, however, will change if the vehicle is used on the road again.

For more information about vehicle compliance when importing check out: NZTA Website 


  1. Transport – Method of Importing Vehicles into New Zealand

Once the vehicle has met all the required standards for import into NZ you can then decide the method of transport.

There are two main transport options for importing cars. Sole use FCL (Full Container Load) and roll on/roll off service. For a sole use container the car is securely packed and lashed into the container at the depot and the car is not touched until it reaches its destination. The car also can’t have fuel in it when transported this way. This can be more expensive than roll on / roll off options but is much more secure. Also, you can pack personal effects with it.

With roll on / roll off, the car is driven aboard a car transporting vessel and stowed securely under deck. Typically, this is the most cost-effective way to ship. You are not allowed to ship any personal items with this option, however. With the service you have to accept that your car will be driven on and off ship by multiple people. If you have an antique/interesting/expensive/rare car, this might not be for you.

At Method Logistics we can help you transport vehicles from any desired country to New Zealand. Let us know how we can help you today.


  1. Customs – What You Need to Know about Clearing Customs

When the vehicle arrives in New Zealand MPI (Ministry of Primary Industries) will carry out a quarantine inspection. This is followed by Customs clearance who will check import requirements such as import tax or and tariff duty.

If you are a tourist in New Zealand and only importing a vehicle into the country for up to a year then you can import it duty-free. This means you need a carnet (essentially a car passport) which will help the entry process. You must take the vehicle with you when you leave, however, or all fees with still apply.

In general, imported motor vehicles and motorcycles are free from tariff duty and only subject to a goods and services tax of 15 percent. The exceptions are ambulances and motorhomes (vehicles for the transport of persons specially equipped for habitation, i.e. with sleeping, cooking, and toilet facilities), which are subject to duty at the rate of 10 percent in addition to GST.

Your vehicle may qualify for depreciation when importing into NZ permanently, which will also reduce the Customs duty you must pay.

For more information on Customs duties and clearance check out the official NZ customs website: NZ Customs Website


If you are interested in importing any vehicles into New Zealand or exporting them elsewhere, Method Logistics can help. Get in touch with us with information about what you want to ship, and we’ll give you a quote.


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