Oil pollution levies to increase

Safe Seas Clean Seas Issue 43, April 2013

Oil pollution levies, which are collected by MNZ from industry to run this country’s maritime oil pollution preparedness and response system, will increase from 1 July.

MNZ Director Keith Manch said the increases were necessary to ensure New Zealand’s capability to respond to a major spill is maintained.

“The current annual costs of providing New Zealand’s response programme are not being covered by the levies, and have been met from reserves in recent years. Moreover, a review of MNZ’s response capability has identified the need for a modest amount of additional equipment and extra training of regional responders. The increase in levies will enable MNZ to address these needs,” Keith said.

The levy increases are the first for 15 years and apply to all commercial vessels over 100 gross tons, offshore oil installations, exploration wells and oil pipelines. The levies are risk-based, meaning that each industry sector contributes according to the level of oil pollution risk that it generates.

The new levies will generate additional annual income of approximately $1.5 million, increasing from the current $3.1 million per annum to approximately $4.6 million per annum.

Temporary levies will add an additional $1.87 million over the next three years for the purchase of new oil pollution response equipment, and an additional $1.2 million for responder training.

“There will undoubtedly be some issues raised in the independent review into MNZ’s Rena response that will need to be looked at, but for now, we need to ensure we’re as prepared as possible,” Keith said.

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