Steps to importing

To import wine and beverages into New Zealand you must be listed as an importer with MPI and meet other standards and requirements. We've created a step-by-step process so you can see what's involved.


Follow the steps

Step1

What you need to know

An overview of importing wine and beverages from start to finish.

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To import wine and beverages successfully you need to know about:

Biosecurity requirements
  • complying with the requirements of the IHS for your product
  • biosecurity permits, if needed
  • arranging manufacturers' declarations, if needed
  • relevant legislation.
New Zealand Customs Service requirements
  • product prohibitions and restrictions
  • tariffs and permits
  • using a customs broker.
Food Act requirements
  • food importer registration
  • general requirements of registered food importers – sourcing and keeping food safe and suitable, records, and recalls
  • the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code, including labelling, composition and restricted foods

Are you using wood packaging?

If your consignment is shipped to New Zealand on wooden pallets, or wood has been used to package any part of your consignment, you'll also need to comply with the requirements for importing wood packaging.

Step2

What you need to do

The tasks you need to complete.

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Meet biosecurity requirements

You'll need to understand and comply with the biosecurity requirements for your product.

Find the import health standard for your product

Biosecurity requirements are detailed in documents called import health standards (IHS). The IHS for your product tells you what you need to do to import it, including meeting phytosanitary requirements and getting manufacturers' declarations when required. Some products can only be imported from countries that are specified in the IHS.

There is no specific IHS for wine.

To import wine and beverages that contain multiple animal ingredients (such as wine that has been refined using egg, milk, or fish products), you will need to meet the requirements in the IHS for each animal ingredient.

Most commercially manufactured beverages and products, like roasted coffee beans and tea leaves, do not need to be certified or inspected. The IHS for importing stored plant products will tell you if specific certificates or inspections are needed for your product.

Download the IHS for stored plant products intended for human consumption [PDF, 430 KB]

To import water, you will need to meet the requirements in the IHS for soil, rock, gravel, sand, clay, and water.

Download the IHS for soil, rock, gravel, sand, clay and water [PDF, 194 KB]

Products that meet their IHS requirements will be given biosecurity clearance. If your product doesn't meet IHS requirements you may have to:

  • apply and pay for a biosecurity permit before your product is shipped
  • arrange and pay for your goods to be quarantined while MPI assesses your application
  • reship your goods (at your cost)
  • pay for your consignment to be destroyed.
Apply for a biosecurity import permit, if needed

The IHS will tell you if an import permit is required for your product. If needed, apply for a permit by completing the application form and returning it to MPI. Fees apply.

Download the import permit application form [PDF, 236 KB]

Download the import permit application form for water [PDF, 121 KB]

If you have any questions about permits, email info@mpi.govt.nz

Importing your product under equivalent measures (equivalence)

If your product doesn't meet all the IHS requirements (for example, if it has been treated using a different method from what is listed in the IHS), you can ask MPI about assessing your product under equivalent measures. This is known as 'equivalence'.

You will need to supply information to show how the risks managed by the IHS will be managed to an equivalent level (for example, by providing information about cooking times and temperatures, and other processing details).

MPI will issue a biosecurity permit if your request is approved.

To ask about equivalence, email animal.imports@mpi.govt.nz.

Options for products not included in the IHS

If there's no IHS for your product, you can't import it. However, you can ask MPI to consider developing a new IHS for your product.

To make a request, use a separate form for each commodity, and email or post it and any additional information to MPI.

MPI prioritises each request for a new IHS, and it may take several years to finalise your request.

Read more about requesting an IHS

Arrange transitional storage

MPI approves transitional facilities to hold and manage imported goods that might pose a biosecurity risk. These goods may need to be inspected or treated at the transitional facility before they can be cleared by MPI.

All sea containers arriving in New Zealand need to be taken to a transitional facility and unpacked there.

You or your customs broker need to arrange transfer to a transitional facility before your goods arrive in New Zealand.

All treatments at a transitional facility must be done by an approved treatment provider. You are liable for any costs associated with non-compliance or contamination.

Search for an approved treatment provider [PDF, 128 KB]

Meet NZ Customs Service requirements

Check with the New Zealand Customs Service whether:

  • you can import the product without restriction
  • the product will be subject to duties or tariffs
  • a NZ Customs permit is needed (such as for health products).

Visit the NZ Customs website to:

Consider using a customs broker

A customs broker will help you get import entry clearance. Some services provided by the New Zealand Customs Service can only be accessed by registered customs brokers.

Many freight and transport companies employ their own brokers but if you need help finding one, contact the Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Federation.

Meet Food Act requirements

Registered food importers

If you want to import food for sale in New Zealand, you must:

  • register as a food importer with MPI, or
  • use an agent who is registered as a food importer.

MPI lists registered food importers in a public database.

Note: To register as a food importer you or your company must be a New Zealand resident as defined in sections YD1 (for persons) or YD2 (for companies) of the Income Tax Act 2007. 

Becoming a registered food importer
To register as a food importer, download and submit the appropriate Customs application form:

Customs will notify MPI when they receive your application. You will then be contacted by MPI to request payment of the fee – $133.69 including GST – for a new application.

If you need help with registering, contact MPI by:

Comply with regulations and standards

Registered food importers must meet food safety requirements under the Food Act 2014. These include:

  • confirming the safety and suitability of food they import
  • safely handling and transporting food
  • meeting specific requirements for foods identified as presenting a higher risk to consumers, also known as foods of high or increased regulatory interest.

All food businesses must comply with the Food Act 2014, Food Regulations 2015 and the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. For example, food sold in retail shops must have labels in English, with a New Zealand distributor's name and address.

As a registered food importer you must also comply with regulations about sourcing foods that are safe and suitable, storing and transporting those foods, and keeping records.

Find out more
Comply with wine labelling and composition requirements, if needed

All wine sold in New Zealand must meet the wine labelling and composition requirements of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. Note that requirements for country of origin, vintage, area, and variety labelling don't apply to imported wine.

Step3

Getting your import documents

How you know you've meet MPI requirements.

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All imported wine and beverages need biosecurity clearance.

If a biosecurity inspector is satisfied that your products comply with the import health standard (IHS), clearance will be issued soon after your goods arrive.

If your products do not comply with an IHS, your goods may not be cleared. However, you may be given the chance to provide further documentation about your products.

Importer responsibilities and alerts

Food can't be sold that is unsafe, unfit for human consumption, or contaminated. It's your responsibility as an importer to ensure that all legal requirements are met.

Food importers should regularly check the notices issued about food recalled overseas, and developing risks.

Who to contact

If you have questions about importing wine and beverages, email info@mpi.govt.nz.

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