New “Border Clearance Levy” results in higher airfares to NZ

Waiheke Island AKL New Zealand
Waiheke Island, New Zealand.

Flights to New Zealand will become $22 more expensive after the New Zealand government announced a new tax on arriving and departing passengers. The “border clearance levy” has been spruiked by the New Zealand government as a way to cover the cost of customs and border protection.

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Our members are not particularly thrilled about this. While most will continue to travel to New Zealand anyway, some members say that any increase in airfares will make them think twice before booking their next trip to New Zealand.

Would I stop going to NZ, most likely not, but maybe less trips over the pond each year

On a return ticket to Auckland, the taxes charged now amount to around $160, which can be around half of the cost of the ticket on some airlines. In fact, they make up a lot more than half of the ticket price in some cases…


i once flew on a JQ $99 sprlecial MEL-AKL … The fare was about $2 …

While all of these taxes are included in the ticket price, this is a particular annoyance for passengers flying on frequent flyer redemption tickets. Taxes on these tickets need to be paid separately and in addition to points. So any increase in taxes will lead to a real and direct increase in the price of redemptions across the ditch.

While arrival and departure taxes such as these generate revenue for their respective governments, they can be harmful to tourism as they cause airfares to increase and make destinations less attractive. A few years ago, there were discussions about removing the need for passengers flying between Australia and New Zealand to clear customs and immigration. As part of the changes, Trans-Tasman passengers would also be exempt from international passenger taxes. The message spruiked at the time was that the move would drive tourism and the economy as the average visitor to Australia or New Zealand spends almost $2,000. However the plan never came into fruition, and in fact it seems that the modern reality is the exact opposite.

To be fair to New Zealand, Australia itself charges a $55 departure tax and other charges amounting to over $110 on a return trip.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]