MARITIME BILLS INTRODUCED TO MAKE SEAS SAFERTransport
Transport Minister Jenny Shipley says legislation introduced today will update navigation safety law and put into place new measures for events such as the America's Cup.
This legislation consists of four separate bills, three of which together repeal and replace the Harbours Act 1950.
"The Harbours Act is outdated. It tackles maritime safety within a harbour board framework which ceased to exist when port companies were established in 1988," Mrs Shipley said.
"It is time to move on. Together these bills will complete the long overdue final step in updating New Zealand's maritime legislation.
"There are some good pieces of legislation in place which we can build on to replace the Harbours Act, namely the Maritime Transport Act 1994 and the Local Government Act 1974.
"Those maritime elements of the Harbours Act which are still relevant today will therefore be rationalised into the Maritime Transport and Local Government Acts.
"Local government will continue to be involved in local control of navigation safety while the Maritime Transport Act will provide over-arching national standards for navigation safety.
"The Maritime Transport Amendment Bill also contains a package of measures that can be used when there is a major maritime event like the America's Cup.
"The Bill provides for additional enforcement powers that can be triggered for the duration of a nominated event. These will allow the removal of people and boats from controlled areas and the issuing of infringement notices.
"The sheer number of craft likely to be on the water for events such as the America's Cup demands robust and responsive measures to protect the safety of spectator craft and provide for effective on-water-management of the event.
"New Zealand will be in the world's eye during the America's Cup and we need to have a strong legislative framework in place to ensure a successful and safe event," Mrs Shipley said.
The second reading of the legislation is expected to occur next week.