The New Zealand Government Department responsible for maritime matters is conducting a public review of maritime levy options for delivering sustainable onshore seafarer welfare funding. 

Since 2019, Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) has been seeking ways to deliver changes to welfare funding mechanisms, in response to the New Zealand Seafarer Welfare Board's (SWB), welfare stakeholders, and Human Rights at Seas calls for effective and sustainable changes.  

This work forms part of the wider Human Rights at Sea Maritime Levy Campaign which aims to improve welfare standards and facilities for all seafarers globally. 

In March 2021, amendments to maritime levy laws were passed, specifying that levy funds must be used to improve seafarers' welfare, as opposed to the previous situation where seafarers' welfare was not a mandatory expenditure from the proceeds of the maritime levy. 

MNZ is now holding a public consultation and is proposing increases to the Maritime Levies and Oil Pollution Levies to ensure sufficient and sustainable funding. The consultation will run from 19 July to 16 August 2023 and will seek input and an "opportunity for all people and organisations that receive the benefits of Maritime NZ's performance and fund the organisation to carry out its regulatory functions, to engage on potential changes to levies." 

The background paper "Options for Delivery of Seafarer Welfare Services" supports the consultation and discusses how seafarer welfare services funded by maritime levies should be provided.

Human Rights at Sea will submit its views on the matter, which builds on its opinions issued in November 2022 

The success of this initiative is crucial for all maritime welfare providers in terms of accessing assured funding to continue and improve support to seafarers.

Human Rights at Sea will continue engaging with MNZ, government departments and forward-leaning welfare providers in NZ ports. 

HRAS Comment

It cannot be overstated how crucial it is for New Zealand and other coastal states globally to get this process right. Any kind of failure could lead to a major setback for all providers of maritime welfare, hindering their ability to access guaranteed funding to maintain and enhance support for seafarers.

Related Articles (Dated ordered oldest – newest)

New Zealand: Under-Funding of Seafarers’ Welfare Services and Poor MLC Compliance – March 2020 [Updated]:

New Zealand Government to change maritime law to fund seafarer’s centres – 11 March 2022:

Impact of seafarers’ welfare maritime levy now evident in New Zealand, says Transport Minister – 11 March 2022:

Counsel’s Opinion: New Zealand: Under-Funding of Seafarers’ Welfare Services and Poor MLC Compliance – 3 April 2020:

New Zealand Transport Minister updates HRAS on Seafarer welfare funding legislation – 20 April 2022:

Seafarers Welfare Board for New Zealand fully concurs with HRAS Report – 22 April 2020:

In Force. New Zealand Amends Legislation to provide assured Seafarer Welfare funding – 1 July 2022:

New Zealand Government drives legislative change in support of Seafarers’ Centres – 15 October 2022:

Maritime New Zealand Requests HRAS Advisory Opinion on a Future Model for Sustainable Seafarer Welfare Funding – 29 November 2022

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