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Union hits streets in support of coastal shipping

Media release 9/7/2003

Maritime Union hits streets in support of New Zealand coastal shipping

The Maritime Union has launched a national campaign for coastal Cabotage, where domestic shipping between New Zealand ports is done by New Zealand operated and crewed ships.

Maritime Union Joint National President Dave Morgan says rank and file Union members are running a national bus tour campaign, which has been backed up by meetings with Government and Opposition politicians.

He says the United States, Japan and the European Union all reserve coastal shipping trade for domestic fleets.

"Yet we have a crazy system in New Zealand where we pursue extreme policies which no one else would touch with a barge pole."

Before 1991, New Zealand coastal shipping was generally reserved for the New Zealand merchant fleet, with any foreign ships having to provide New Zealand wages and conditions.

"Since the former National Government allowed foreign and flag of convenience shipping in, we have had cheap Third World labour being employed in New Zealand waters while New Zealand seafarers are put out of work."

Mr Morgan says a return to cabotage is vital for New Zealand shipping and will have spin off benefits to employment, the domestic economy, port security and biosecurity.

The Government's recent Transport Strategy aims to provide an affordable, safe, integrated and sustainable transport system by 2010.

Mr Morgan says these goals can be met through the reintroduction of coastal cabotage.

He says the Government should also take heed of its recent Shipping Industry Review that concluded cabotage would increase New Zealand¹s participation in shipping.

"We need to support New Zealand workers and New Zealand shipping companies who have a long term commitment to the New Zealand economy, to our merchant fleet, and to protecting our environment and biosecurity."

© Scoop Media

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