Māori Party blocks the end of slave fishing vessels

Labour is appalled the Māori Party has refused to allow a final reading of legislation to abolish slavery conditions on foreign charter fishing vessels in New Zealand waters before the end of the Parliamentary term, Labour’s Fisheries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says.

“The Fisheries (Foreign Charter Vessels and other Matters) Amendment Bill could have passed tomorrow if the Māori Party had given leave.

“This Bill will result in foreign fishing vessels having to meet New Zealand minimum standards and market wage rates.

“However because of the Māori Party this legislation may not pass, enabling shocking conditions on foreign charter fishing vessels to continue.

“This is despite the Bill having the support of the majority of Parliament.

“Leave wouldn’t have to be sought on the final day of Parliament if Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy hadn’t dragged his feet for months.

“Labour backs moves to bring all foreign charter vessels within New Zealand law. But we want to see more New Zealand crews aboard foreign fishing ships and for fishing to become an attractive career option for Kiwi workers.

“For this to happen we need trained crews ready to fill demand and for proper wages to be paid on all New Zealand fishing vessels.

“The fishing sector is frustrated with the lack of progress on this Bill. Labour shares those frustrations,” Damien O’Connor says.