Too many answers to do via quotes so:
Our dog is a small Maltese Terrier who is sedentary by nature and would prefer to sit on your lap than walk across the lawn. He is also the type that sulks when either one of us leaves him for any length of time. I know that some of you might say we're pathetic but it is what it is. In our case "home" is a presence, not a place.
Unlike Johnny Depp (whoever he is) we're not coming to NZ from some undefined disease environment. All of the areas we're touching are certified rabies free and our dog has been treated at the top level against the disease. The odds of another dog that is rabies-infected coming aboard our boat to infect our dog are easily as high as winning two lottos on the same day. So as far as we're concerned, in our case the rules are arcane. But we understand also that rules are not customisable.
Just for interest are other posters aware that in Tonga, if you take an unauthorised animal ashore it is likely to be euthanised right there? We're not going to be exposing our dog to that possibility.
Hypothetically, if you were unable to take your wife ashore for any reason (can't think of one but for purposes of the discussion), you would leave her at home? Good luck with that.
Since I am "forced" to register my boat as a NZ vessel, is it not reasonable to assume that the vessel is NZ soil? In which case the dog is actually not leaving the country.
So I guess that leaving him behind is the best choice but here lies the real dilemma. My wife is that emotionally attached to him that even if we did leave him behind this time, it would probably not happen a second time and my dream does not comprise one trip to an island group.
No, I'm not looking for reasons to "let it go". I have done voyages far greater than going to an island up the road - voyaging doesn't scare us. But I am reluctant to spend thousands of additional dollars to get to Cat1 status in vain. I've already spent $20k to achieve Cat1 and am only halfway there.
Cruising NZ is on our itinerary but is intended to be our summer activity. Sailing the tropics is the winter objective. Also, as far as cruising grounds in NZ go, we live and play in the best of them an going to others is almost seen as our "duty".
And finally, my dog is not an insect looking for a new home.