30 Jun 2016

Cheap imports to remain tax-free for now

8:11 pm on 30 June 2016

The government has delayed bringing in tax on imports below $60.

It said, by lowering the threshold too soon, there was a risk that items would be needlessly held up at the border, and collection costs would exceed any revenue.

Customs Minister Nicky Wagner said Customs would continue to look at ways of collecting tax for low-value imports.

National MP Nicky Wagner.

Customs Minister Nicky Wagner Photo: NZ GOVERNMENT

"Once we get the digital data, and there is some talk that some of it might come through this year - the OECD is doing work on that - once we have that I think it could make a significant difference," she said.

"It's not going to be one silver bullet; there's going to be a series of collection mechanisms to make it work."

Ms Wagner said the current $60 threshold benefited online buyers, but was unfair on local retailers.