New Zealand Opens to Yachts from Australia

18 May 2021 By Staff Report
Jeff Brown Breed Media/Courtesy of NZ Millennium Cup

With the combination of the air-travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand that began on April 18 and an existing sea-border exemption for vessels, it means that New Zealand is now open to business for superyachts coming from Australia.

Vessels can enter New Zealand under the sea-border exemption, granted by the Director-General of Health, for reasons that include:

  • Reprovisioning or refueling (or both)
  • Carrying out a refit or a refurbishment of, or a repair to, the ship that is more than minor
  • Or delivering the ship to a business

Owners, their families, and friends can join the yacht in NZ via the air border.

Cruising yachts departing Australia can gain entry to New Zealand under an exemption for vessels with NZ$50,000 in service or refit bookings. With the new travel bubble, those who either have an Australian passport or have been allowed into Australia (and have spent an additional 14 days in Australia after isolation), can fly to New Zealand through the Australian/New Zealand trans-Tasman bubble and join the vessel.

“We have been waiting over a year now and are very excited that yachts and their owners leaving from Australia can come to New Zealand,” said NZ Marine Industry Association CEO Peter Busfield in a press release. “It presents the opportunity for cruising and superyachts to enjoy New Zealand’s cruising grounds, and superyacht regattas; the New Zealand Millennium Cup and the various regattas planned for 2022 by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.”

Some key points for visitors from NZ Marine:

  • A cruising yacht is entitled to visit New Zealand for up to 24 months without the need for the yacht to be imported to NZ. A Temporary Import Entry (TIE) certificate will need to be applied for from NZ Customs prior to arrival.
  • Visiting yachts complying with Maritime NZ requirements are welcome to charter in New Zealand. It’s best arranged through a local superyacht agent who will process the necessary paperwork with government departments.
  • A visiting yacht entered on a TIE may purchase goods/equipment and services “zero rated” of Goods & Services Tax (GST) of 15 percent if they are to form part of the yacht and exported with the vessel, including berthage costs, repairs, or refit work completed while in New Zealand. The GST is not charged at point of purchase on production of the TIE certificate.
  • Crewmembers are not required to pay tax given that they are not in NZ for more than 365 days in any two-year period and are not employed by a New Zealand resident or New Zealand-controlled company.

Other countries in the South Pacific have different rules for vessels. Current regulations allow yachts over 24 meters to stay 36 months in Tahiti, and vessels under 24 meters are allowed 24 months. For Fiji, yachts under and over 24 meters can stay 18 months. Australia has a 12-month TIE, which can be extended twice up to 36 months, and after this period, the yacht needs to leave Australian waters for 12 months before re-entering.

For more up to date information on New Zealand’s regulations, check with the Ministry of Health and Customs Service.


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