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Foreign Fishing Crew Wages Bill Set To Cost

Foreign Fishing Crew Wages Bill Set To Cost Seafood Industry Millions

The New Zealand Seafood Industry Council today made a strong plea to the Primary Production Select Committee to scrap the Foreign Fishing Crew Wages and Repatriation Bond Bill.

The Bill will force fishing companies, who charter foreign vessels, to buy insurance to cover the possibility of foreign crews being stranded in New Zealand.

“This bill takes the sledge hammer to crack a nut approach and although its aims are laudable it is overkill to fix a problem that has occurred in less than one percent of all charters,” SeaFIC General Manager Policy and Science Michael Harte said today.

The crew members are employees of the boat owner not the New Zealand based charterer.

“New Zealand companies will be forced to carry the cost of insuring against an event which is the responsibility of those who actually own the boats and the total cost is estimated to be about 4 to 5 million dollars.”

“What is even more worrying is the fact that Maori fishing companies are dependent on chartering foreign fishing vessels.”

“Until the Maori Fisheries settlement assets are allocated Maori cannot afford the capital investment in vessels so are forced to charter them so this bill will add yet another substantive cost to Maori companies struggling to get a foothold in the industry.” Dr Harte said.

For further information contact:
Dr Michael Harte 025 498 087 or SeaFIC Communications Manager Tina Nixon 0252232789 or Kamila Skapa 025 359 317

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