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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Breaking News: NZ Govt. is actually doing something about a problem!?

For once - and it probably will be once - this National government looks to be doing the right thing.  They are going to take some action over the fisheries slavers that have been exploiting the loose regulations.  Beehive:
The Government today announced it is to require reflagging of foreign-owned fishing vessels operating in New Zealand waters to address labour, safety and fisheries practice concerns.
Primary Industries Minister David Carter and Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson say foreign-flagged fishing vessels will no longer be able to legally operate in New Zealand waters after a four-year transition period.
“The Government's decision sends a clear message that New Zealand is serious about the fair treatment of fishing crews, the safety of vessels and its international reputation for ethical and sustainable fishing practices,” say the Ministers.
Today’s announcement follows the Government’s decision in March to act on a number of recommendations of the Ministerial Inquiry into Foreign Charter Vessels (FCVs).

Working on the seas around this country must be bad enough without being beaten, raped and ripped off. Observers on board will help, but it does indicate there is no trust in the relationship between the NZ authorities and the fishing management of these vessels and that they will try and get away with whatever they can get away with when they know they are undetected.

“Reflagging will further strengthen compliance with New Zealand laws and provide more transparency around the operation of foreign-owned vessels,” says Mr Carter.
“We are already moving to strengthen monitoring and enforcement of FCVs, including placing an observer on all FCVs fishing in New Zealand waters.
“The Government continues to welcome foreign charter fishing vessels operating in New Zealand waters, but they must meet our requirements and our standards,” he says.
Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson says once vessels are flagged to New Zealand, the full range of New Zealand law, including employment relations and workplace health and safety law, will automatically apply and be enforceable.

About ruddy time. The fishing quota holders who contract out to these vessels will be miffed their rampant exploitation is coming to an end, but I doubt it will affect the price or quality of fish at all.

The other issue is will this encourage local fishers back? The answer to that (from the FAQs) is almost certainly no. The foreign crews will be under NZ law and a NZ employment agreement, but there will still be tax benefits (like not paying ACC) that foreign crew (because they are non-resident) will have. By keeping these labour cost advantages it still makes foreign crews more competitive than operators employing locals.

Considering what the situation was though this move is a significant improvement.


At 22/5/12 3:37 pm, Blogger Ovicula said...

Whether this is an improvement or not will depend on the employment conditions we have in four years time and how much the inspectors are funded.

At 22/5/12 5:32 pm, Blogger Tim said...

Yep.........Good on Nactional........... but its only because they know they had to do something, and especially since they're about to be total cnuts over the asylum seeker thing.

Can't have too much abuse going on - even in Nactional's world. It all has to LOOK humanitarian - even when it isn't.

Check out Nathan Guy for instance.

At 22/5/12 11:48 pm, Blogger Frank said...

I suspect the Nats were between a rock and a hard place on this one. Our American cuzzies were starting to sit up and take notice that we were using slave labour to produce our fishing exports, and some of our clients in the US of A were none too happy,



When even a business news-site like Bloomberg gets a tad anxious about our behaviour, you know things are getting bad.

If I was the conspiracy-theorist type, I'd be guessing that somewhere along the way, someone from the US Embassy had a 'quiet word' in David Carter's ear - and told him to know off the slave-galley thing or risk State Department naming & shaming.

Not exactly a good look for li'l ole New Zealand...

Cynical? Maybe. But National ain't exactly well known for being on the vanguard of workers' rights. Not unless I've tumbled into a Parallel Universe without noticing.

Hmmm, I should check history...

Who won WW2. We did. Check.

Date of JFK's assassination; 1963. Check.

Who won the Cold War? We did. Check.

Who won the 2000 US presidency? Al Gore.

Uh oh.


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