New Zealand’s closed borders ‘creating financial loss
New Zealand’s closed border policy to guard against Covid-19 is creating significant financial losses to its superyacht sector, warns Duthie Lidgard, MD Catalano Shipping Services NZ. While the country has been relatively successful in combatting the virus, there is an economic price.
Lidgard urged the country’s government to listen to the yachting industry’s request to speed up decision making. “Sadly for New Zealand there is significant financial loss,”Lidgard told Superyacht Investor: “I feel New Zealand is no better off than any other country now, whilst Covid works its way around the globe. We have significant opportunities to welcome the yachts through our borders with strict isolation process, however with our pending elections at the end of October decisions are slow.”
But he is confident that New Zealand will recover quickly from the pandemic; , back noting “Kiwis evolve, are resilient and bounce back fast”. Nonetheless if the industry was able to provide insight to the government decisions could be made more quickly , he said.
“Sadly, authorities can only rule around what our legislation states and currently the wording is too strict for any other way for rulings. Our Customs and Immigration teams are amazing and extremely helpful. They want the yachts to enter ASAP, however many other government agencies need to approve the process too and they aren’t as proactive.”
Catalano Shipping Services NZ’s MD was quick to quell reports of a ‘backdoor’ entry to New Zealand for yachts requiring maintenance, as had been reported in recent weeks. Yacht crews are in fact allowed into the country on essential visas provided their work amounts to a minimum threshold of $50,000 (NZ dollars). Owners are however still barred unless they are New Zealand natives or residents.
Lidgard explained: “There is no back door, no loop hole! This has been spoken around for a few weeks and is wrong. There is a process, it is an approved process in which all yachts can apply to enter New Zealand for refit and repair. There are strict guidelines which must be me , and this is where Catalano Shipping Services NZ come through and assist each vessel to translate these guidelines and assist in gathering all documents for the application to enter.”
The company recently changed its name from Superyacht Support to Catalano Shipping Services NZ , aligning with the Monaco Head Office Catalano Shipping. It is the endorsed yacht agent for the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, which will host the Americas Cup in March 2021.
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