From time to time we will issue notices about importing and exporting trading weapons and controlled chemicals to and from New Zealand.

New restrictions on the export of certain semi-automatic weapons, parts and magazines

Following the entry into force of the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Act on 12 April 2019, the policy around the export of these prohibited items has been reassessed and aligned with the new Act. These changes are to ensure that such items that are prohibited in New Zealand are not exported to other countries where they would pose a similar risk. It will also no longer be permissible for items that are banned here to be imported solely for the purpose of re-export.

Two new criteria (numbers 13. and 17.)  have been added to the Criteria for the Assessment of Export Applications.

Although applications for exports of items prohibited in New Zealand are likely to be declined by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade, there are some exceptions:

Transitional exceptions until the end of the amnesty period:  

  • Stock being returned by dealers to suppliers  
  • Items which are currently held at the border being returned to the supplier
  • Personal exports by people relocating overseas or possessing overseas citizenship.

Transitional exception until 31 December 2020:

  • Exports of certain items (magazines and parts) by existing manufacturing businesses and suppliers as defined by Transitional Regulation 28F

Permanent exceptions:

  • Exports by a person approved to hold prohibited items under the Arms Act, including dealers, collectors, approved pest controllers and entertainment industry permit holders
  • Exports by a person to whom the prohibited item has special significance as an heirloom or a memento, in personal circumstances such as moving overseas
  • Exports by the New Zealand Defence Force, Police or other government agencies when disposing of weapons.

Approval of items permitted for export under the above exceptions is not automatic. Applications would still need to be considered against the full Assessment Criteria.

Items which have already received a permit for export are unaffected by these changes.

Vanuatu nationals visiting and working in New Zealand including Recognised Seasonal workers

Vanuatu nationals visiting or working in New Zealand (including Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers in New Zealand) : Prohibition on the export of firearms and ammunition to Vanuatu.

At the request of the Vanuatu Government, New Zealand and Vanuatu have an agreed policy on the importation of firearms and ammunition to Vanuatu from New Zealand. The policy is that individual applications to export firearms and ammunition to Vanuatu will not be approved, but applications for exports to importers who are licensed Vanuatu firearms dealers will be considered.

On this basis Vanuatu nationals visiting or working in New Zealand including RSE workers cannot export firearms and ammunition to Vanuatu.

Firearm and ammunition sellers in New Zealand should not rely on any documentation giving authority to an individual to import firearms and ammunition into Vanuatu. In this regard a license to import firearms or ammunition issued by the Vanuatu Police will not be recognised by us, nor will approval to import letters from Vanuatu Government departments.

Accordingly, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which manages the issue of export permits, will not approve permits for individuals exporting firearms and ammunition to Vanuatu.

Any attempt to export firearms and ammunition without a permit is a breach of the Custom Act and may result in prosecution.

If you have any questions on this issue please contact the Export Controls Office.