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Govt Proposals Will Affect Returns From Quota

Government Proposals Will Significantly Affect Returns From Quota

Iwi who lease out their deepsea quota will be hurt by the knock-on effects of the Government’s proposal to impose higher wage rates for crew on foreign charter vessels.

Fred Cookson, Secretary for Mataatua Fish Quota Company Ltd, which manages a large parcel of quota on behalf of Bay of Plenty Iwi, says the proposal will have a significant effect on returns from the quota that is managed by the company. “All businesses wish to protect their profit margin. This will affect all other quota owners leasing Annual Catch Entitlement (ACE), fished from foreign vessels, as well.”

The company manages and assists with the leasing of approximately 7,500 tonnes of deepsea ACE and the returns benefit Bay of Plenty Iwi.

A significant portion of the deepsea quota is caught by foreign vessels and Mr Cookson said increases in costs for those vessels, like fuel or Government-imposed higher wages, had a negative impact on the cash flow to quota owners.

“If the intention is to get New Zealanders to work on foreign charter vessels it is highly unlikely. In addition, there are language and cultural barriers.”

It is also unlikely, he said, that the proposals would lead to more investment in New Zealand owned vessels. For example, in the wake of hoki quota cuts firms were streamlining rather than building up their catching capacity.

Other Maori spokespeople have pointed out that the Government proposals will have a disproportionate effect on Iwi. Iwi are building up their fishing businesses and catch a greater percentage of deepwater quota on foreign charter vessels than other quota owners.

There are already laws setting wage rates and conditions on foreign vessels and most charter operators comply with them. The fishing industry has spent 18 months working with Government and union officials on proposals that will reinforce these laws & standards and ensure ‘cowboys’ are not able to operate in New Zealand waters.

ENDS

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