The Auckland Council has backed down over its proposed daily "anchor tax", which would have stung visiting superyachts more than $1000 a day to moor in local waters.

Instead, foreign-flagged vessels more than 40m long will pay a one-off entry fee of $23 (including GST) a metre for 12 months.

That means the owner of a 42m superyacht will now pay $966 to stay for up to a year.

The one-off fee will also apply to cruise liners and cargo vessels.


The news has delighted Emirates Team New Zealand, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (the America's Cup defenders) and the NZ Marine Industry Association, who pushed back against the proposed anchor tax.

Squadron Commodore, Ian Cook, said the combined force of the three organisations gave them considerable leverage against "the fools that came up with the idea".

Cook, who owns boat builders Yachting Developments, said the council had not consulted with Team NZ, the squadron or the marine industry before announcing plans for the anchor tax.

"Now they have consulted. They have listened to everyone and we've got an outcome."

But not before considerable damage was done to New Zealand's reputation as a place that welcomed superyachts as word spread to vessel owners, skippers and vessel management agents.

"There was a lot of damage done very quickly," Cook said.

Vice commodore Aaron Young, who will take over as Commodore during the America's Cup in 2021, leaves on Sunday for Palma in Spain to try to undo some of the damage from the proposed anchor tax.

Young will attend the annual Palma Superyacht Regatta and one of his tasks will be to
spread the word about the abolition of the daily anchorage fee. Aware of the enormous economic benefits, he will be encouraging the owners of superyachts to base their vessels in New Zealand from next year in the lead-up to the Prada Cup and the America's Cup for refits and leisure time.


Peter Busfield of the NZ Marine Industry Association said the council had now understood the "unintended consequences" of the proposed anchoring tax.

"Even the proposal sent a message to the international superyacht community that they were being scalped by New Zealand. Now the council understands that."

Similar anchor taxes were introduced in the South of France and Sardinia but were repealed after big losses were suffered by the local economies and the marine industry.

Busfield, who will also attend the Palma regatta, said the money spent by superyachts visiting New Zealand before and during the America's Cup was the single biggest gain for the economy during the event.

Spending was estimated to be about $430 million in tourism, the marine industry and other businesses. Each yacht spent on average $2.7m during a New Zealand stay-over.

"That's why the anchor tax needed to be dropped because even losing one superyacht would have been a significant loss. "