From 1 October 2016 the importation of asbestos-containing products into New Zealand is prohibited unless the importer has a permit for the shipment issued by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA). The importation ban has been put in place by way of the Imports and Exports (Asbestos-containing Products) Prohibition Order 2016, made under the Imports and Exports (Restrictions) Act 1988.

An exception to the prohibition is made if the product is imported solely for the purpose of export and is subject to the control of the Customs (as defined in section 20 of the Customs and Excise Act 1996) at all times while it is in New Zealand.

The EPA must not grant a permit unless the applicant satisfies the EPA that one of the following applies:

  • there is no alternative non-asbestos product available:
  • the cost of using an alternative non-asbestos product would be disproportionately high having regard to the risk of exposure from the asbestos-containing product:
  • the product is to be used solely for the purposes of research and development or teaching.

The applicant must also satisfy the EPA that the risk of exposure from the asbestos-containing product will be adequately managed. In addition, the EPA may impose any conditions on a permit it considers appropriate. The fee for the application is NZ$650 (excluding GST), and must be paid when the application is lodged. If the time taken to process the application exceeds 2.5 hours, an additional assessment fee of $116 (excluding GST) per hour will be payable. This additional fee will be discussed with the applicant before an invoice is prepared.