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Lobbyists totally off the mark on cabotage

Media release 16 September 2003 ­ For immediate release ­ 2 pages

"Maritime workers and shipping companies say manufacturers lobbyists totally off the mark on cabotage"

The Maritime Union of New Zealand has slammed statements by the Employers and Manufacturers Association (Northern) attacking the campaign for cabotage in New Zealand shipping.

Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says "The question has to be asked ­ do New Zealand manufacturers really support offshore slavery?"

The Maritime Union and New Zealand shipping companies have been campaigning strongly for cabotage, where New Zealand shipping is given priority on domestic coastal shipping routes.

Mr Hanson says "The Manufacturers Association claim cabotage would lead to less efficiency ­ but they do not have to go aboard the Flag of Convenience ships coming into our ports and see the disgraceful conditions endured by the Third World crews."

"New Zealand shipping companies working with New Zealand crews under New Zealand employment agreements could not and should not have to compete with floating sweatshops."

The New Zealand shipping industry is also backing changes to the Maritime Transport Act section 198.

Pacifica Shipping Chief Executive Rod Grout says comments by the Employers and Manufacturers Association (Northern) are shortsighted and have displayed little understanding of the situation.

"No manufacturer in New Zealand would accept being restricted to trading areas as we are in the coastal shipping industry ­ we should be free to trade to any port in New Zealand without having to seek authorisation," he says.

Mr Grout says "How would Canterbury manufacturers like it if they were restricted to selling their goods in the South Island only ­ and if they wanted to sell in the Auckland market they had to obtain authorisation from the Minister?"

"Not only that, if importers thought they had enough supply into the Auckland area then they could put in an objection to stop the authorisation being granted ­ it is a ludicrous situation and one that would not be tolerated by manufacturers."

Mr Grout agrees with the NZ Government that coastal shipping is a vital element of New Zealand's transport system.

He says if Section 198 of the Maritime Transport Act was amended, it would allow New Zealand shipping to compete on a level playing field.

Similar regimes are in place in the USA, European Union and Japan with no detrimental effects on the coastal or international trades.

Mr Hanson says cabotage would have a range of long term benefits for workers and New Zealand.

Cabotage would boost domestic industry, ensure New Zealand jobs, and minimize the exploitation of Third World seafarers in New Zealand waters.

Mr Hanson says cabotage would also assist in maintaining biosecurity and port security.


ENDS

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