Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) works to ensure that New Zealand’s unique marine environment is protected, by minimising waste and reducing the risk of accidental spills of harmful substances such as oil or chemicals.
MNZ, along with other central and local government agencies and industry are jointly tasked with protecting New Zealand’s marine environment.
All vessels (including recreational boaties), gas and oil installations and ports operating in New Zealand waters, must comply with a range of environmental regulations including rules, conventions and legislation.
MNZ has been granted approval by the Government to increase the oil pollution levy collected from industry by around $1.5 million dollars per year.
The increases are the first since 1998, and the money will feed into the Oil Pollution Fund – established under the Maritime Transport Act 1994 to meet the costs of maintaining New Zealand’s oil pollution preparedness and response system. The Fund, which is administered by MNZ, is derived from levies applied to commercial vessels over 100 gross tons, offshore oil installations and oil pipelines.
MNZ Deputy Director Lindsay Sturt said the increases were necessary to ensure New Zealand’s capability to respond to a major spill was maintained. "Not only are we looking to increase the Fund, but there’s a need for some new equipment, and to make sure our regional responders around the country are well-trained and ready to go. A comprehensive risk assessment process was used to assign different levels of risk across the sector, and that’s what the increases are based on."
On 8 April Cabinet approved an increase in oil pollution levies to take effect from 1 July 2013. The 2013/14 budget has been prepared on the basis that the proposed increase in oil pollution levies will generate revenue of approximately $4.57 million per annum, up from the current $3.1 million.
An additional $1.87 million is being raised over the next three years for the purchase of new oil pollution response equipment, identified as necessary after a preparedness and response capability review in 2011.
Sitting alongside this is another $1.2 million, also to be generated over the next three years, and to be used for ensuring that New Zealand’s training and response capability is maintained at an appropriate level.
"There will doubtless be some issues raised in the independent review into MNZ’s Rena response which will need to be looked at, but for now, we need to ensure we’re as prepared as possible."