Originally Posted by Alan Wheeler
Wow, I didn't realise it was you Kanani. Could you tell us more of the story??
Sadly that law is about to return. I have no idea of what they(Government) have done, but apparently they have reworked that law to close all the gaps you seemed to have slipped through. Just how they expect to impose it on overseas vessels, I have no idea. But it maybe that to gain entry to NZ, you may have had to fill out some document that say's you have meet all safety
requirments as expressed in the Cat1 requirements. I think the "loophole" you slipped through, was that it was unfair to expect an overseas boat to enter NZ and then
to meet the NZ standards.
It may have been public pressure on your part and maybe that was indeed all it was. But a NZ magazine publish that it was due to some legal
body finding that the then NZ law did not have the Authority to to impose Cat1 regulations
on a visiting foreign liesure vessel.
The stupid thing about the "Cat" standards is, (as I understand it)I can sail as far as I want to, as long as I don't enter another countries territorial waters. I can sail to the edge of those waters and all the way back to NZ again with out having any of those "Cat" requirements. But if I enter another country, I must have firstly met the requirements of "Cat1" before I can leave NZ. "Cat1,2,3, are required if I am in an orginised Race
I hope that you're not sorry that you asked.........
When we entered NZ in Oct '94, we had no idea that the NZ government
was planning on enacting legislation that would restrict vessels, currently in the country, from leaving port
without passing their Cat 1 inspection
When we went to Customs
on Feb 1st to check out for Brisbane
, the Customs
Officer told me that we had to have a vessel inspection
before he could issue my clearance. Now, you must understand that we were boon-docking for 3 months and knew absolutely nothing about this. Feb 1 just happened to be the perfect weather
window for us and was critical due to the fact that it was cyclone season.
I told the Customs officer to go ahead and do the inspection, Our dinghy
is on deck
and we are ready to cast the lines off. He said that he wasn't exactly sure who
did the inspection and how it was all to work. I said, "What the hell are you talking about, I'm ready to leave here". He made a few phone
calls and told me that the inspector hadn't yet been appointed (although the law was in effect) and that they would get someone from the yacht club over to talk to me. I said, "You people are not thinking straight here. I have an 1100 mile passage
to make and I picked this day to start this passage
due to weather
. I have no intention to stick around and wait for you guys to work this out. I'm leaving".
I walked down to my boat and by the time that I got there, the press was there (seemed that idiot wanted his name in the paper). They started asking me questions and I just got on-board and started preparing to cast-off (with no clearance). About that time, a harbor police boat came along side and told me that if I tried to leave, they would arrest me and impound our boat.
Then, Mr Oram showed up at my boat. He ran the yachting syndicate in NZ at that time. He invited my wife and I to his office to meet with some other people. He better explained exactly what was going on and how this new law would potentially impact to his and other's business in NZ. He asked me to stick around (at his expense) for a week or two and help them fight the new law.
It caused quite a ruckus for the yachties that were currently in the country. A lot of boats just pulled up anchor
and left without clearing. A lot of boats threatened never to return to NZ. In the end, after speaking all over the country, I had the inspection done and (of course) passed with no problem. The other option was to have my boat impounded if I tried to leave. Mr Oram paid the $100 fee. The bigger problem was that we were hit by a cyclone on that passage after being delayed for 10 days. I wrote a letter to the Prime Minister (from Australia) and made it perfectly clear that his government nearly cost us our lives by their tactics.
About 6 months after we left, we received a very nice letter of apology from the Prime Minister himself. He let me know that the law had been repealed and that we were instrumental in helping with that process. I thought that was a nice gesture.
As for them reenacting the law......I don't have a problem with any country enacting any law that they want to. What I (and everyone else) had a problem with was the fact that they refused to grandfather in the yachts that were currently in the country and let them clear without having to go through the hassle and expense of their inspection. It was all quite a surprise to me. They wanted me to pay them $100 to inspect my boat so that I could go out and sail in international waters
. Even under the new law, a yacht could enter the country, sail all the way down to Stewart Island, cross the 2 most dangerous stretches of water
in the world and not be inspected. When it came time to leave and head
into international waters, they required foreign yachts (that had to sail thousands of miles to get there) to be inspected. Had we known, in advance, that NZ would require us to conform to their Cat 1 regulations in order to sail NZ waters, that would have been a completely different story. At least we would have had the option of giving NZ a miss. If we had of been told upon entry that this law was going to take effect on Feb 1, 1995, we aould have been sure to leave the day before. Not one word was said about any law when we entered.
The big reason that the law failed was because in order to require foreign yachts to pass Cat 1, to sail in NZ waters
, they would have to require all NZ vessels to conform to the same law. NZ could not require foreign yachts to conform to laws that they didn't require of their own citizens (according to international laws). I really don't know how they will overcome that hurtle. They will have to make it a condition of their entry visa. However, foreign yachts should have the requirement of having the inspection done outside of NZ. It seems kinda crazy to make the foreign yacht conform to this inspection upon departure of NZ because the trip down there and sailing in NZ waters is the most dangerous part. It is clearly a tactic to increase products sold in NZ. If this had anything to do with safety, it would be required before entering NZ waters but in order to do that, they would have to require every boat that sails
in NZ (including NZ citizens) to fall under the same law.
No other country in the world can understand exactly the impact that sailing has in NZ. People reading this in the US have no idea how this sort of thing effects the avg Joe in NZ. In fact, I couldn't believe it until I saw pictures of Kanani plastered all over the headlines in every paper in NZ on Feb 2, 1995. Sailing is a BIG DEAL there. In the US, it may have made 3rd page in some local paper in some podunk town. Not in NZ.