Fees, Charges and Payments - FAQs

Why are there fees for NZ Police Vetting?

The New Zealand Police Vetting service processes thousands of checks each month, employing a team of vetting officers and using complex systems to carry out the work. The introduction of the Policing (Cost Recovery) Regulations 2017 determined that Police vetting checks are a “demand service”, meaning that it is fair and reasonable for Police to charge for the service. Charges are calculated using the cost recovery model, which means that our charges are set to cover the actual costs of providing the service, without the intention of generating a profit.

 

What is a “demand service”?

A demand service is a policing service requested by an individual or organisation that is of direct benefit to that individual or organisation (even though there may also be some indirect benefit to the public). It does not include responding to 111 calls, conducting criminal investigations, or prosecuting criminal offences.

The term “demand service” has been used in the Policing (Cost Recovery) Regulations because it describes policing services that are driven by the demand or request of individuals or organisations, rather than by Police.

The Act lists the provision of vetting services by Police as an example of a demand service.

 

How much does a Police vetting check cost?

For New Zealand agencies, regulations set an initial fee of $8.50 + GST per vetting request to cover the actual and reasonable costs of a vetting request.

Any change to the fee will need to be approved by Cabinet. When changes to our charges are approved by Cabinet, we will provide 3 months’ notice of the change to all approved agencies by email.

 

How can I make payment?

For ease of administration, we recommend setting up a direct debit authority to pay your vetting charges. Direct Debit Authority forms are available on our Forms and Guides page.

We also accept payment by direct credit and online bill payment. In some circumstances you may be eligible to make a regular instalment arrangement – call us on 04 474 9415 to discuss whether this is an option that may be available to your agency.

At present, we do not accept cheques or credit card payment. If you wish to pay by credit card, many banks support credit card payments to bank accounts. Contact your bank to learn more.

 

Are there any exemptions or waivers?

The regulations provide for one exemption and three waivers. These are:

  • an exemption from fees if agencies make 20 vetting requests or fewer per year (1 July – 30 June) - please see the note below regarding this exemption
  • a fee waiver for registered charities (check to see if you may qualify for charitable registration)
  • a fee waiver for agencies that are facing extreme financial hardship
  • a fee waiver for agencies that are facing significant adverse effects arising from exceptional circumstances

You can contact our Debt Recovery team by email if you have questions about our fees and waivers.

If your agency places 21 or more vetting requests in the period noted, you will have to pay for all of them, inclusive of the first 20 that were not originally charged for. An invoice will be issued in the billing period following the submission of the 21st request.

 

How can I apply for an exemption or waiver?

Registered charities exemption

Email your charities office registration number to our QueryMe admin team. We will load it into your account, and activate the exemption.

Once your charities registration number is added to your account, you will no longer be charged for NZ vetting requests. You will still have to pay for Australian Criminal History Checks.

If your charities number changes, or your registration lapses, you need to tell us as soon as possible. You can contact our QueryMe admin team to tell us what has changed.

If your charities number changes, and you do not tell us, you may become liable for charges when your old charities number expires. From time to time we receive an emailed list of deregistered charities. We remove the charities exemption from any agencies who fall into that list, and send an email to let you know.

If you incur charges because your charities number changed and you did not tell us, we will not reverse those charges.

Note: The charities exemption will apply to NZ vetting requests placed after we are notified of your charities registration number. We cannot apply the exemption to charges incurred before you tell us your charities registration number, so you will have to pay for any requests placed and any invoices issued before you tell us your charities number.

Extreme financial hardship waiver

“Extreme financial hardship” is considered to mean circumstances affecting the operations of your business to the degree that paying for Police Vetting Services may place your business in a financial situation that means it can no longer be kept running.

You will need to complete the Application for fee waiver for extreme financial hardship form (DOCX 182KB), and provide supporting evidence including:

  • Your most recent financial statements
  • A signed statement from your accountant or treasurer stating
    • That the financial statements are accurate and true
    • Whether the organisation is able to borrow money to help you keep running

The form also lists some other things that will help us to make a decision on your application.

The application should be emailed to our debtor management team, who will be responsible for presenting it for consideration.

If your application is accepted, the waiver will apply for 12 months, starting from the day on which we received your application. The Commissioner of Police may review and withdraw the waiver at any time. We will contact you if this happens.

Exceptional circumstances waiver

“Exceptional circumstances” is considered to mean that something you cannot control is having a significant negative impact on your business. An example would be a natural disaster or a national security emergency.

You will need to complete the Application for fee waiver for exceptional circumstances (DOCX 183KB), and provide proof of the exceptional circumstance.

The application should be emailed to our debtor management team, who will be responsible for presenting it for consideration.

If your application is accepted, the waiver will apply for a period of time decided by the Commissioner of Police, starting from the day on which we received your application. The Commissioner of Police may review and withdraw the waiver at any time. We will contact you if this happens.

 

Do other government agencies charge fees for their services?

Cost recovery is common for many public sector agencies in New Zealand, at both the local and central government levels. For example, the Ministry of Primary Industries has a system in place to charge for the costs of providing food safety, fisheries and biosecurity services, and the Department of Internal Affairs charges fees for the provision of New Zealand passports.

New Zealand Police was one of the few police services worldwide that previously did not have legislation that explicitly allowed for some degree of cost recovery.

 

Will I have to pay for withdrawn or rejected requests?

Where a request is withdrawn, you will still have to pay for the vetting request. Liability for the vetting fee arises when the vetting request is submitted, and recognises that even withdrawn requests require input by our team to be removed from the system. Rejected vetting requests also remain payable unless there are exceptional circumstances. You can read more about this in the Cost Recovery Guide, available from the Forms and Guides page.

 

Where can I learn more about NZ Police Vetting fees and charges?

You can find out more information by reading the resources available on our site and elsewhere: