Boating NZ - - Boat World -

The NZ Ma­rine In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion and Coast­guard New Zealand are urg­ing the Gov­ern­ment to take a closer look at the Auck­land re­gional fuel tax which will hit Auck­land-based boat own­ers twice – once when they fill up their cars, and again when they fill up their boats.

The tax sees boat­ies pay­ing more for their on-wa­ter re­cre­ation to fund roads and the con­se­quences, says NZ Ma­rine ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Peter Bus­field, go be­yond in­tro­duc­ing a bar­rier to recre­ational boat­ing.

“While it’s clearly un­fair to tax a recre­ational group to pay for an­other sec­tor’s in­fra­struc­ture, the ef­fects will be felt far more widely than solely in boaters’ wal­lets. The Auck­land recre­ational boat­ing in­dus­try con­trib­utes [to the econ­omy] sig­nif­i­cantly, pro­vid­ing jobs and ap­pren­tice train­ing.”

The tax puts an ex­tra bur­den on boaters with­out any mit­i­gat­ing fac­tors. Such mit­i­gat­ing fac­tors might see some of the funds be­ing pushed back into ma­rine en­vi­ron­men­tal projects, boat­ing safety or ex­tra ma­rine fa­cil­i­ties. Na­tion­wide, more peo­ple than ever are go­ing boat­ing yet many re­gions have lim­ited boat ramps, with lit­tle car and trailer park­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent Mar­itime NZ re­port on recre­ational boat­ing, more than 1.5 mil­lion adults in New Zealand are in­volved in recre­ational boat­ing; 37% of those are Auck­lan­ders, with ad­di­tional boat­ies trav­el­ling to the city from other re­gions. More peo­ple per capita go boat­ing in Auck­land than in any other re­gion.

That means ap­prox­i­mately 219,000 peo­ple are af­fected by the re­gional fuel tax as ap­plied to boat­ies in Auck­land.

NZ Ma­rine es­ti­mates those Auck­land recre­ational boat users (mostly with trailer boats) are pay­ing re­gional petrol fuel tax of $5,864,0400, while diesel launch and keel boats are be­ing charged $1,092,500. Users across the cat­e­gories in­clude power­boats, launches, keel yachts with en­gines, jet skis, RIBS and dinghies and 64% of them share their boat­ing time with fam­ily and friends.

While com­mer­cial ves­sels can ap­ply for a re­bate, recre­ational users can­not, leav­ing the as­so­ci­a­tion con­cerned with the ef­fect on the ma­rine in­dus­try New Zealand-wide.

NZ Ma­rine says the ex­tra tax may be the tip­ping point which damp­ens new boat sales and the in­dus­tries they sup­port by mak­ing boat­ing less af­ford­able for the con­sumer – par­tic­u­larly in the smaller boat range.

“Get­ting out on the wa­ter is a na­tional pas­time,” says Bus­field. “We be­lieve it’s not in the best in­ter­ests of Kiwi fam­i­lies to make time spent in the fam­ily dinghy, or week­ends head­ing out in a RIB to go fish­ing, an un­af­ford­able hobby.

“As an in­dus­try we strongly feel this dis­in­cen­tive to boaters in Auck­land will have harm­ful and wide-reach­ing con­se­quences for our mem­ber com­pa­nies.”

Be­tween cen­tral gov­ern­ment and the Auck­land re­gional fuel tax, Auck­lan­ders are pay­ing $108,000,000 in fuel tax.

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