Travelling requires money, and when you’re in New Zealand, you need them as some areas may not have automated teller machines. Not all establishments accept credit cards, and whether you like it or not, some things still require bills and coins.
It is, therefore, important to have enough local currency, especially if you plan to go around the country. To figure out how much money you should bring, visit an online foreign exchange calculator and find out the latest rate.
But how much money can you bring into the country?
Border Cash Report
New Zealand has strict rules on bringing cash into the country to deter money laundering and other illegal activities. Since 2010, it requires a border cash report for anyone who’s carrying $10,000 or more (or their foreign equivalent). This figure includes the money you have on hand (pocket, carry-on, checked-in luggage), traveller’s cheques, bills of exchange, postal orders and money orders. Before you can leave the airport, you need to give the report to the customs officer.
The country does not prohibit you from bringing large sums of money (although having too much cash can be detrimental for travellers). Rather, it simply asks you to declare the amount honestly.
What Happens if You Lie?
Unless you have criminal intentions for entering the country, there is no reason to lie in your border report. The country imposes harsh penalties on anyone who did not submit the border cash report, who provided misleading or false information, and who failed to comply or answer the questions of the customs officer properly.
Based on the rules, you may end up paying a fine of no more than $10,000 or spending time in jail up to 3 months. They could also penalise you with both. In addition to that, Customs can seize your money as, by then, importing it already becomes illegal and a criminal offence.
To avoid getting into trouble and even filling out the cash border report, you can bring money in different denominations or use your debit card, which is popular in the country. Then you can go to a foreign exchange provider if you run out of local currency.