You don't find out you've got a problem until Customs rings you up and says "Pay us lots of money or we won't release your goods" - so fore-warned is fore-armed!
Selina-Jane was able to offer this explanation and hint:
There was a query today via the SHEAF group to ask about GST charges on curriculum items purchased from overseas. I am lucky enough to have a brother-in-law who works for customs, so have asked him to clarify things for me.
A couple of years ago when I asked him about this he told me:
The GST is applicable if you have bought over approx $400 NZD. Take into consideration the cost of freight also as that has gst on it also.This meant that as long as your order (including postage) totalled less than approx $400.00(NZ) you would not need to pay GST on it.
After the query came through I asked him to clarify it a bit further for me, and this was his response:
The costs have changed due to GST going up and a few items such as certain types of clothing attract a few extra charges but the de minimus is set at $60. So if you order something and the total of duty and gst is over $60 then you will be liable to pay.
So this still remains around the $400 mark for 99% of all imports.
It is based on the tariff rates and the GST rate.
The de minimus was recently changed from $50 to $60. This was to cover the raise in gst to 15% and keep the $400 mark the same. So situation is still normal in regards to you importing your educational material.
If you are ever unsure about anything Customs related call 0800 4 CUSTOMS which is our call centre. They will give you up to date information and you will get the correct information.
A handy hint that was passed onto me was that lot of people order their stuff in 2 lots, making sure both lots are under $400 in order to avoid the GST - that is what we did.
Hope this helps!