Slowly lifting

New Zealand border exemptions will soon be available for vessels, including work vessels, yachts and superyachts.

25 June 2020


The New Zealand Government has announced key changes to New Zealand’s border restrictions that includes a new maritime exception for vessels with a compelling need to travel to New Zealand such as yachts and superyachts.

Activities including the delivery of a vessel to a business, refit and repair, crew handover, response to an emergency or humanitarian situation, supply or support of ongoing operations, or discharge of catch will all fall under this umbrella.

The exemption does not apply to cruise ships, which remain prohibited from entering New Zealand’s waters, and it does not allow people travelling for leisure to enter the country.

“The refit and servicing of vessels contributes 25 percent to the $2 billion New Zealand marine industry. We look forward to seeing many of our companies regaining some of the lost business from the past four months,” says NZ Marine’s executive director Peter Busfield.


This new border exemption comes just in time for the crucial period of July to November when the majority of visiting vessels requiring refit or repair schedule their arrival in New Zealand.

“We thank the many marine industry companies, organisations and government departments that assisted us in representing our case to cabinet and gaining the above border exemptions.

“Particular thanks go to New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, Maritime New Zealand, the Ministry of Business Innovation & Employment, Ministry of Immigration, Ministry of Transport, Customs NZ, Business New Zealand, Auckland Chamber of Commerce and Sir Ken Stevens.”

Applications are to be made to Immigration New Zealand and more details of the application process and criteria will be announced over the next few days. 

NZ Marine will be informing foreign-flagged work vessels, yachts and superyachts as well as New Zealand marine industry companies accordingly.



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