In 2018/19 the Ministry engaged in consultation, to seek the views from the public and interested parties on whether New Zealand should sign up to an international treaty for the prevention of air emissions from ships.

Consultation opened Monday 5 November 2018 and closed at 5pm Monday 11 Feburary 2019.

This International Maritime Organization treaty, Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), regulates emissions that are harmful to public health, deplete the ozone layer and contribute to climate change.

Annex VI accession would have benefits for New Zealand. It would:

  • reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality around our ports and harbours
  • provide investment certainty to domestic ship owners and fuel suppliers
  • demonstrate commitment to the ‘level playing field’ for international maritime regulation that we benefit from as a trading and maritime nation.

Annex VI accession would also have costs. Its regulations would impose costs on ship owners and operators, and their customers. Ships burning heavy fuel oil would need to switch to low sulphur fuel.

Annex VI impacts on New Zealand will increase over time, whether we accede or not. Our ships already need to comply with its requirements when visiting foreign ports. Foreign ships in our ports will need access to low-sulphur fuel from 1 January 2020.

Feedback has been received, and will be used to inform advice to Government on whether New Zealand should accede to Annex VI.   


The Ministry received 49 Submissions in the consultation process.