Warmer months bring yachts

By Imran Ali

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Over 400 yachts will sail into Whangarei this summer. Pictured; a super yacht, the M5, arriving in Whangarei last month.
Over 400 yachts will sail into Whangarei this summer. Pictured; a super yacht, the M5, arriving in Whangarei last month.

Customs and the Ministry of Primary Industries are likely to boost staff numbers in Northland to cope with the arrival of 400 yachts in Opua this summer.

Opua is the most popular destination and accounts for 70 per cent of international yacht arrivals, while Whangarei is the other port of entry in Northland.

Customs spokeswoman Helen Keyes said the number of yacht arrivals in Opua did not vary much every year and around 400 were expected in Opua this summer season.

"Customs has two staff based at Opua, and will send additional staff to assist, as required, during the yacht-arrival season," she said.

Figures supplied by Customs shows 414 yachts arrived in Opua between April last year and March this year and 265 departed during the same period.

November was the busiest month with 225 arrivals - more than half the total arrivals of 414.

May accounted for the most departures at 144.

In comparison, 93 yachts arrived in Whangarei and 130 departed between April last year and March 2016.

The yacht-arrival season in Northland typically starts mid-October and continues to mid-December.

Arrivals include returning locally registered yachts and a flotilla of foreign craft, from solo sailors to superyachts.

Customs Minister Nicky Wagner said the yachts brought great economic benefits to Northland and to New Zealand in general in exchange for our well-known sights, hospitality, and marine services.

"Customs streamlined its processes and doubled the temporary entry period for yachts to 24 months a couple of years ago, meaning they can stay for longer without paying duty or taxes," the minister said.

- Northern Advocate

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