What you need to know
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) in 1973. MARPOL aims to prevent and minimise ship pollution in the marine environment and is the primary international regulation for addressing the impacts of climate change on shipping — 94 other countries representing 97% of world tonnage are party to it. There are 6 annexes categorised by pollution type. Annex VI seeks to limit air pollution from ships around ports and harbours. It came into force in 2005.
If a country becomes party to MARPOL, then MARPOL applies to ships registered to that state, wherever they operate. New Zealand joined MARPOL in 1998 and is party to 4 of the 6 annexes. After consultation in 2018–19, the Government announced that New Zealand would sign up to Annex VI from late 2021, taking into account the time required to align domestic legislation with obligations under Annex VI.
Accession approved in principle and planned accession announced
Cabinet approved in principle New Zealand becoming a party to Annex VI, and the Government agreed to an expected implementation date of late 2021. This means Annex VI will come into force in New Zealand 3 months later.
Annex VI consultation
The consultation focused on how acceding to the treaty would benefit New Zealand by protecting trade interests, promoting the interests of Pacific Island countries, improving both public health and New Zealand’s influence on climate policy, and making it easier for New Zealand-flagged ships to travel to other countries already signed up to Annex VI. It also noted the potential costs.