The government’s announcement this morning that they will pass legislation to collect GST on imports worth less than $1,000 next October has been welcomed by Trade Me.
Trade Me Head of Marketplace Stuart McLean said a fair regime to collect GST on these goods will help their New Zealand sellers and help level the online retail playing field for Kiwi businesses. “The vast majority of our sellers are New Zealand-based and there's no doubt they will welcome this move.
“It’s a good thing for buyers too because for items under $1000, the price they see is the price they pay and there will be no hold up at Customs. They’ll get their items faster.
“If the law passes as Minister Nash has described it this morning the new GST law will impact just 0.2 per cent of our sellers and less than 5 per cent of our professional sellers. It’s only 3 per cent of total value of items sold on Trade Me.
“The key concerns we have at this stage are the implementation of the law and how things like secondhand goods from overseas are treated.
“As always we’re keen for a law like this to be implemented in as straightforward, effective, fair and practical as possible.
“The secondhand goods stuff is tricky, while it’s a tiny part of our business it could create pain for our customers. We’ll be taking a look at the detail over the coming weeks and will continue to engage in the submissions process.”
Mr McLean said there may be an opportunity for Trade Me that comes out of this law. “We see a possible advantage for us in that we’d become an easy place for overseas sellers to list their items as we’ll be able to take care of the GST stuff for them and get it paid.
“We’re going to have to get systems in place for our current sellers so we’ll be all set up to help other overseas sellers get selling faster and easier.”
Mr McLean did warn that one result of this law may be less choice for consumers. “We’ve already seen some big international sellers decide Australia wasn’t worth the effort when they made a similar change. As an even smaller part of the global ecommerce market, there’s a chance overseas sellers will decide New Zealand isn’t worth the time.
“It could mean some Kiwis can’t get exactly what they want. Regardless, we will continue to ensure we provide New Zealanders access to the widest range of products from around the world, at great prices.”