New Zealand border legislation

A number of New Zealand statutes and regulations contain provisions relevant to border health protection.

COVID-19

Information on the border controls in place for COVID-19 is available at COVID-19: Border controls. The following information is more generic in nature and not specific to the COVID-19 response.

Health legislation

The main legislation includes:

  • Health Act 1956 – which includes provisions to support the management of public health risks at the border. These include controls in Part 3 (Infectious and notifiable diseases), Part 3A (Management of infectious diseases), and Part 4 (Quarantine)
  • Health (Quarantine) Regulations 1983 – which set out requirements for arriving aircraft and ships when entering New Zealand (eg, pratique/health clearance for such craft)
  • Health (Quarantine Inspection Places Notice) 2014 – which identifies the locations of quarantine inspection places in New Zealand harbours. These are locations where ships liable to quarantine can be taken while awaiting an inspection from a health officer. They are separate from business-as-usual port facilities and are essentially contingency locations to moor ships and help ensure that public health risks can be managed without disrupting normal port operations. See Health (Quarantine Inspection Places) Notice 2014 for more information.

This law is administered by the Ministry of Health. More detailed information about the key controls in this legislation is provided at Key border health/quarantine provisions in the Health Act.

This legislation is supported by two other key statutes that cover emergency situations:

  • Epidemic Preparedness Act 2006, which contains powers to facilitate the management of serious epidemics of specified disease
  • Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002, which provides for other powers if a state of emergency is declared under that Act.

Other legislation

There is a range of other legislation that also contributes to border health protection, including:

  • Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 – which includes controls on the movement of hazardous substances and organisms through New Zealand’s border
  • Biosecurity Act 1993 – provides the legal framework for the Ministry for Primary Industries and other government agencies to help keep harmful organisms out of New Zealand (some of which have public health implications – such as mosquitoes). The Act also provides the framework for how we respond, and manage such organisms, if any do make it into New Zealand
  • Radiation Safety Act 2016 – establishes a framework to protect the health and safety of people and protect the environment from the harmful effects of ionising radiation while allowing for the safe and beneficial use of ionising radiation (eg, for medical purposes). The Act also has controls covering the import and export of radioactive material
  • Customs and Excise Act 2018 – provides for the administration and enforcement of customs controls at the border, sets out the obligations of those involved in border crossings, and describes the powers of Customs in relation to goods, persons, or craft
  • Food Act 2014 – includes controls the import and export of food through New Zealand’s border
  • Civil Aviation Act 1990 – establishes the Civil Aviation Authority and sets out the legal framework for aviation safety and security. It also provides for civil aviation rules to be made that set detailed requirements around aviation safety and security
  • Maritime Transport Act 1994 – sets out the legal framework for maritime safety, including licensing of ships and crew, investigation of maritime accidents, and controls around oil spills. The Act also provides for maritime rules that set detailed standards and requirements that including those relating to the safety of ships and people.

Copies of all relevant legislation are available from New Zealand Legislation.

Back to top