Two Trade Associations Delivering Value to Members During the Current Pandemic (Part 2)


The key leaders of Australian and NZ’s marine sectors talk to MaryAnne Edwards GMBA consultant about current issues

Dec 2020 – Part 2


David Good AIMEX
David Good AIMEX

During the height of Covid 19 both countries were forced to cancel their key boat shows.  First off was the cancellation of the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show (SCIBS) in May, followed by the Hutchwico NZ Boat show in May, followed by Sydney International Boat Show (SIBS) in July and then the Auckland On Water Boat Show in October.

With covid restrictions easing in November, Sanctuary Cove held a smaller “Boating Festival” which whilst having to adhere to a number of covid restrictions was extremely well supported by industry and consumers and it is understood significant business was transacted.  It confirmed the industries need for face-to-face interactions and the connections that develop from this.

In May 2021 SCIBS and the Hutchwico NZ Boat show will be the first major Australasian  shows to go ahead followed by Sydney at the end of July.   It is also exciting to hear the famous Tasmanian Wooden Boat Show will go ahead in February 2021.  The Auckland On Water Boat show in NZ is scheduled for Oct 2021.

Peter Busfield responded; “Having led our MIA team in cancelling eleven major domestic and internal events March to October 2020 we look forward to planning an event that actually takes place!”

A frustration shared I am sure with many overseas counterparts.

Mary-Anne Edwards
Mary-Anne Edwards GMBA

There has been a lot of discussions around the value of virtual shows and whether they filled the void left by cancellation of boat shows but the word from the top is No.  Companies still see the very real need for boat shows and the personal interaction and relationship building that comes with these.

David Good responded; “Companies with targeted marketing and online content have reported good enquiry and interest, but member feedback suggests the online shows themselves have not filled the gap.”

Peter Busfield concurred responding;  “We have not seen any value in virtual shows but do see value in companies increasing their own digital marketing and connecting with potential customers via social and digital  media.”

David Good further responded; “ The shift to online marketing has not replaced our plan to travel as soon as permitted. AIMEX will take the lead in international travel representing members at key international shows that go ahead in 2021.  We may end up travelling more on behalf of members, with a group stand rather than individual stands.  Members may not wish to travel or take the vaccine initially.  Our AIMEX directory will certainly be important collateral when travel to boat shows is permitted. Targeted distribution for any marketing material is a crucial issue and we believe boat shows always provide the perfect platform for this.”

Peter Busfield NZ Marine
Peter Busfield NZ Marine


The Americas cup (AC) is a huge boost for the entire Asia Pacific region.  Vessels that head down for the Cup will generally visit many South Pacific countries and tend to remain in the region for a minimum of 6 months.  Covid 19 has clearly changed the dynamics of the AC but all factors are pointing to an exciting event taking place albeit without the huge international spectator base.

The event will still be a boost for the region and Peter Busfield was enthusiastic regarding the numbers of superyachts that will be in NZ for the event.

Peter Busfield responded; ”The recently re-elected Labour Government is maintaining very strict border controls and only people with NZ passports can enter NZ. Everyone entering NZ must go into a government provided 14 day isolation period at a hotel directed by the Government. There is currently a 2-month waiting list for New Zealanders wanting to return to NZ due to restriction of isolation beds.  The America’s Cup event and some other major sporting events have exemptions where participants can gain an exemption to come to NZ but they must go into the Government provided 14 day isolation.

The pre America’s Cup World Series Christmas regatta starting this week from 17TH TO 20TH December in Auckland is where England, Italy, USA and NZ teams will meet on the race course for the first time. It is a highly anticipated event, to see these 75 foot monohulls on foils doing up to 50knots (93 kmh). The course is windward leeward, so it is traditional on the wind starts. For the first time in many years, the TV broadcasting is free to air worldwide and is likely to be the largest viewed sporting event after the Olympics in 2021. The Prada Challenge series runs 15th January to 24th February 2021 and the winner of that faces Emirates Team NZ in the actual America’s Cup regatta starting March 6th 2021.”


AIMEX held the first Australian industry event in November being their acclaimed Australian Marine Industry Awards night which was held at the Southport Yacht Club in Queensland.

David responded; “The evening was sold out within days and was a big success for the industry.  Everyone was eager to be together, craving the person to person contact which due to covid restrictions had been missing for many months. It gave the entrants and the winners a big marketing injection which many capitalised on resulting in some excellent exposure for Australian companies.  Our key conference ASMEX and these awards will go back to their usual timing in May 2021.

When asked what key events were on the horizon for both organisations Peter Busfield talked about the New Zealand Millennium Cup.   A key event in the NZ Marine calendar.

Peter responded; “The NZ Millennium Cup is the largest superyacht regatta in the South Pacific.  We are excited given so many events have been cancelled that this popular event is going ahead in the beautiful Bay of Islands, with an expected 8 to 10 entries starting 15th February 2021.

David Good responded; “Our next event is “The Superyacht Australia Soiree” scheduled for Feb 27th 2021 at Jones Bay Wharf in Sydney. This year’s event is being held in partnership with one of the world’s largest manufacturer of superyachts, Benetti Yachts and will further build on last year’s success with an extended yacht-hop, followed by a VIP evening of luxury for guests and captains.”


Given the Covid-19 situation there is a strong push for greater sovereign capability particularly in Australia and many businesses given overseas industry shuts downs and freight issues have been forced to review their supply chains. Reliance on overseas countries to deliver critical products has been highlighted.   Maryanne asked both David and Peter about their industry’s’ view of this drive for greater sovereign capability.  Is it just talk with little in the way of support for manufacturers or are governments actually walking the talk?

There has been considerable talk in Australia about sovereign capability since the start of the covid 19 pandemic with supplies coming into both NZ & Australia being severely disrupted.  This has highlighted the need to be more self sufficient.

David Good responded;  “The issue re sovereign capability has always been a key topic. There is a growing enthusiasm for Australia Made. Decisions to relook at the TT Line replacement has put a positive focus on this. The government indicated that given current and emerging economic problems caused by COVID-19, there needed to be more consideration of local content and manufacturing jobs in Tasmania and Australia as part of the overall vessel replacement project. The Australian government is certainly introducing initiatives to support local manufacturing and I imagine the government will definitely take a stronger look at our marine industry capabilities.”

NZ has always had a strong culture of buy NZ Made with the marine sector being a significant industry sector in the NZ economy.

Peter Busfield responded; “There is public and government talk about Buying NZ Made but most of our international trade agreements do not allow the government to mandate ‘Buy NZ Made.’ Having said that already 90% of trailer boats sold in NZ are made in NZ which clearly shows the importance to New Zealander’s of supporting their own.”

Given the isolation of Australia and NZ and their reliance on other countries to supply key goods there will no doubt be further investment by the respective governments to enhance their sovereign capability.

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