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Importing a Motorhome from the UK

Posted on August 14, 2017

It may not feel like it at the moment, but good weather will be back in a few months and we will all be itching to get the barbecue out and explore the great outdoors of New Zealand. Our country may not be a giant like Russia, but, with its 268,000 km2and 15,000 km of coastline, there is plenty of nature to discover.

Doing so with a motorhome gives you more flexibility than with a car as it is a vehicle and your accommodation. Wherever you go, you won’t have to worry about hotels being full, leaving you free to visit even the most remote and wildest parts of the country.

McCullough Ltd are vehicle shipping specialists with over 25 years’ experience in the industry, importing and exporting all things wheeled from all over the world. For a year or so, we have been experiencing an increase in the shipping of motorhomes from the UK to New Zealand. While it may seem a bit excessive to go to the antipodes to buy a motorhome, it actually makes a lot of sense.

A year ago, we published an article on how Brexit had created the perfect conditions for importing vehicles. After the UK voted to leave the EU, the pound to New Zealand dollar exchange rate fell significantly. Before the referendum, a dollar would get you 48p; after 52p.

It may look like a small difference, but when you are considering spending thousands of dollars on a motorhome, it starts adding up, and the savings more than offset the costs of importing it.

There are even more financial advantages to buying one in the UK. New motorhomes bought for export are currently exempt from VAT, which stands at 20% of the purchase price. This is not nothing! In addition, if you use it in the UK for three months before shipping it to New Zealand, you will save another 20% on the GST (Goods and Services Tax) and duty payable on import. So between the favourable exchange rate and those tax exemptions, there has never been a better time to purchase a motorhome in the UK and import it to NZ.

If you are unsure about how to organise the shipping, don’t worry, a professional shipping company like McCullough should be able to guide you through every step of the process.

Prior to your purchase, we can provide you with details of dealers who sell motorhomes VAT free and we can also work out the GST and duty payable on it so that you can see how much you would save by buying from the UK as opposed to NZ.

If you decide to use your motorhome in the UK for 3 months to benefit from the savings on GST and duty, you will have to register your vehicle with the British motoring authorities, the DVLA. The tax road is due on all vehicles, even if you are planning to take it out of the country a few months later. The only case when your vehicle would be exempt is if it is taken off the public roads, i.e. stored in a garage on private land or in a private driveway. However, the good news is that you will get refunded any full months accrued when you leave.

You will also need to have valid insurance, and valid MOT if your motorhome is over three years old.

When you are about to ship it, you are obligated to tell the DVLA that you are taking your motorhome abroad. You can then apply for a refund.

It is important to note that your vehicle won’t be allowed to leave the UK if there is any financing left on it. So if you purchased it on credit or were paying in several instalments, you will need to clear the balance.

Importing a vehicle into NZ isn’t too problematic, as long as you get the basic rights, and this is where we can help you.

To be given entry in NZ, your motorhome will need to comply with a few regulations:

  • Roadworthiness

First of all, you will need the vehicle full mechanical history. Some will come from the manufacturer, and if any work has been done on it since then, you will need to get hold of the relevant paperwork.

Your vehicle will need to comply with safety emission tests in NZ as well as frontal impact standards. If any work is required, we greatly advise that you organise for it to be done in the UK as it will be cheaper than having it done in NZ. Don’t hesitate to ask us about it, we will be delighted to give you advice before you start the process as well as an idea of potential costs.

Once your motorhome has passed these tests, it will be issued with an entry certification and, depending on its size, possibly a warrant or certificate of fitness.

You will, of course, need to show ownership of the vehicle.

  • Clearing MAF

NZ has very strict regulations when it comes to biosecurity. No creepy crawly or foreign plant material shall pass and your motorhome must be immaculate! And it isn’t about hoovering the inside and taking your motorhome to the car wash. It is about cleaning every nook and cranny, every air vent and various mechanical parts. In fact, it is so important to get it right that we strongly recommend that you leave it to a professional company.

  • Containment

Motorhomes have to meet a certain level of certified self-containment, i.e. enough storage space for clean and waste water for all occupants for three days - the idea being to ensure that it won’t be a burden on the environment. They also must have a sink, an evacuation hose and a sealable rubbish container with lid.

If you are considering importing a motorhome into NZ, Joe Steele is your man! You can contact him on + 64 9 309 1163 or at joe@mmnz.biz.


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