The original comments may be old, but there other similar stories floating around that impact on peoples decisions as to where to spend the cyclone season as they near the end of their Pacific crossing. The overall result is that Australian maritime businesses miss out and NZ benefits.
A quick look at the Coastal Passage website gives a few of these stories (Australian Customs Report
). Obviously, this is one somewhat biased perspective, but the stories are there.
People traveling to Australia by yacht are treated very differently from those flying in and to no obvious benefit to Australia.
I too have had nothing but good experiences with Customs staff, most recently the people at Newcastle and Coffs Harbour were outstandingly helpful and friendly, but the outrageous AQIS charges and stories like the above do nothing for Australia's image abroad.
Meanwhile, stories like this: Customs officials face court over corruption charges - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
have been common lately. Leaves me wondering if the whole thing with yachts is meant as a distraction.
Of course, once you get passed the official hurdles (and its not too hard), Australia is anything but up tight and there are fabulous cruising grounds. I think it would just be a little better if we went out of our way to make people welcome. 99% of boats are innocent travelers bringing heaps of spending money to the countries they choose to visit and a more positive official approach would help.