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Int. security clamp down could wreck NZ exports

International security clamp down could wreck NZ exports

Ships leaving New Zealand will not be allowed into foreign ports under security rules being adopted around the world unless the Government passes a Bill currently languishing in Parliament.

If New Zealand does not comply by 1 July with the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code, ships visiting New Zealand will not have the required certification to allow them to dock, or dock without delays, at ports.

Silver Fern Shipping Ltd today warned the Government to pass the Maritime Security Bill this month to ensure the country meets the deadline for compliance.

“Millions of dollars of exports are at risk because the Government has lost its focus,” said Managing Director Frank Wall.

“Our exports could be delayed for weeks until we get our certification process fixed. That’s a very expensive price to pay for bureaucratic bungling.

“Rick Barker has said secure ports are vital to our continued trade, but secure ports require certification. To issue certification, you need to have the legislation in place,” Mr Wall said.

Passing the Bill itself is not enough to comply with obligations to the International Maritime Organisation. It is the regulations which would be issued under the auspices of the Bill that cover the compulsory functions New Zealand is obliged to set up.

“Time is critical. It will not be good enough to pass the Bill shortly before the deadline because regulations will still need to be issued to set up certification requirements, and ports and shipping companies will need to set up their systems.

“The maritime industry, and exporters, will want an opportunity to see and amend those regulations to ensure they are practical. At this point the industry has not even seen the regulations.

“Industry will need time before the 1 July date to actually set up systems that enable them to comply with the law. All that takes time, and we don’t have much of it left.

“To speed up the process, the regulations should be put out for comment now, before the legislation is passed.”

Australia passed its Maritime Security legislation on 12 December, and promulgated their regulations on 19 December.

The New Zealand version of the Bill was number eight on the order paper before Christmas, but has now only moved up the list to number seven.

Mr Wall said the Government needed to rate the economic importance of trade, particularly exports, ahead of most of the Bills higher up the order paper.

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