New Zealand opens to yachts from Australia

The newly implemented air travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand, combined with an existing sea border exemption for vessels, means New Zealand is now open to business for cruising yachts and superyachts coming from Australia.

The yachts can visit New Zealand under the sea border exemption and yacht owners, their families and friends, can then join the yacht in New Zealand via the air border.

With the two destinations and the wider South Pacific amongst the safest places to visit globally, the establishment of this new bubble provides a wealth of opportunities for those eager to get back out on the water and exploring.

Trans-Tasman travel bubble
Cruising craft and superyachts departing Australia can gain entry to New Zealand, under an exemption for vessels with NZ$50,000 in service or refit bookings.

With the implementation of a new air border agreement, owners’ family and friends 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 their vessel.

“We’ve been waiting over a year now and are very excited that yachts and their owners, leaving from Australia can come to New Zealand,” CEO of the NZ Marine Industry Association, Peter Busfield, said.

“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.

“Combining this with superyachts now being able to charter in both New Zealand and Australia, we see Australians and Kiwis able to get their overseas experience in style by chartering a superyacht in either country for a holiday of a lifetime.”

New Zealand is cruising yacht and superyacht friendly; it has straightforward entry rules, plentiful berths for visiting yachts, and marine service centres nationwide. Internationally recognised for its boatbuilding, spar and sailmaking and engineering services, many visiting yachts have undertaken major refits in New Zealand.

With Emirates Team New Zealand’s successful defence of the 36th America’s Cup, the upcoming SailGP series, the New Zealand Millennium Cup superyacht regatta, running from 14 to 17 February, and the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron’s regattas taking place in January and February 2022, New Zealand is a global focal point as a destination for superyachts.

In addition, a world first superyacht fishing competition will take place from 11 to 13 February 2022 in Northland’s Bay of Islands immediately prior to the 2022 NZ Millennium Cup; the longest running superyacht regatta in the Southern Hemisphere.

Key points for superyacht visitors:

Destination New Zealand
24 months temporary entry of vessels – A cruising yacht is entitled to visit New Zealand for up to 24 months without the need for the yacht to be imported to New Zealand. A Temporary Import Entry (TIE) certificate will need to be applied for from New Zealand Customs prior to arrival.
Superyacht charter allowed – Visiting superyachts complying with Maritime NZ requirements, are welcome to charter in New Zealand. This is best arranged through a local superyacht agent, who will process the necessary paperwork with Government departments.

Visiting vessels exempt Goods & Services Tax (GST) of 15% – A visiting yacht (entered on a ‘Temporary Import Entry’) may purchase goods (equipment) and services ‘zero rated’ of GST if the goods or services are to form part of the yacht and exported with the yacht. This also includes berthage costs, repairs or refit work completed while in New Zealand. The process is simple with the GST not charged at point of purchase on production of the TIE certificate.

Operational logistics for crew – Crew are not required to pay tax providing they are not present in New Zealand for more than 365 days in any two-year period and are not employed by a New Zealand resident/New Zealand controlled company.

NZ Cruising Guide – NZ Marine has published a comprehensive information guide and directory for visiting superyachts and smaller cruising craft, unlike anything else available in the world.

Visiting the South Pacific
Tahiti – Current regulation allows yachts over 24m in length to stay 36 months. Yachts under 24m are allowed 24 months.

Fiji – Current regulation allows yachts under and over 24m to stay 18 months.

Australia – Australia has a 12-month TIE (temporary import entry) which can be extended twice up to 36 months. After this period the yacht needs to leave Australian waters for 12 months before re-entering.

Please note this document is a guide only as regulations are subject to change and interpretation and may have express Covid-19 temporary restrictions. Please refer to the appropriate Government departments responsible for each country’s regulations.

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