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Fisheries Compliance Fees Costing NZ Millions

1 April 2001

Silly Fisheries Compliance Fees Costing New Zealand Millions In Lost Business

The Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First and Member of Parliament for Tauranga, today said that the Ministry of Fisheries Section 61 permit fees are costing Tauranga and New Zealand millions in lost business.

¡§Each year the American Tuna Long Line Fleet fishes around New Zealand but outside our exclusive economic zone. These boats traditionally discharged at New Zealand ports, particularly Tauranga. Not only did they discharge but they also re-provisioned and undertook most of their annual survey and refit work.

¡§It is estimated from boat yard/slipways that each of the 26 boats, which regularly fished those waters, would spend approximately $300 - $350k on annual refits and surveys. One economic commentator estimates the extent of the potential loss for the region in excess of $10m per annum.

¡§The imposition of this additional charge of $3780 some years ago (without sufficient justification) was enough for the American owners to rethink their approach about discharging in New Zealand and they now discharge in Western Samoa.

¡§This is an outrageous situation at a time when economic growth is so important and regional development is so readily touted as a key government strategy.

¡§There is absolutely no justification for this additional charge and it could arguably be described as nothing other than a trading barrier. One which is costing the Bay of Plenty economy millions of dollars annually.

¡§The vessel monitoring system used to justify the charge is used for every vessel over a certain size within the New Zealand fleet. New Zealand vessels are not subject to any similar charge, nor are they reflected in cost recovery levies.

¡§This additional ¡¥tax¡¦ should be removed immediately and fees constrained to those fees incurred by other vessels required to be registered for similar monitoring purposes.

¡§These are:

ć $185 Permit Application Fee
ć $175 VMS Registration
ć $180 Vessel Registration Fee

¡§These Section 61 permit applications are set at $3780 per Section 61 permit application and were introduced with the cost recovery regime which involves an automatic Locator Beacon System for compliance outside New Zealand¡¦s exclusive economic zone where ships intend to discharge at New Zealand ports.

¡§But the compliance fee, arbitrarily set, totally defeats the compliance objectives. These foreign boats don¡¦t register, so they don¡¦t get located, frequently slipping in and outside of our exclusive economic zone, and eventually steam off elsewhere to discharge. As of yesterday there were about 45 boats working offshore just outside the 200 mile zone. Yet the Government is only receiving 6 application fees or less than $24,000 per annum. At the same time we are losing about $10 million per annum in economic benefits from refits, surveys etc not being done at our ports,¡¨ said Mr Peters.

ENDS


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