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Govt Proposals Endanger Ngati Tama Fishing Venture

Government Proposals Endanger Ngati Tama Fishing Venture

Government proposals to increase the wages of crew on foreign charter vessels has endangered a new Ngati Tama fishing venture which has cost in excess of $2 million to develop.

Ngati Tama proposes to use a foreign charter vessel for the new venture, which has been in development for more than 18 months. Greg White, the Executive Officer for Te Runanga o Ngati Tama, said costings were based on the current laws setting wage rates and conditions on foreign vessels.

“We’ve done a couple of years of research, we’ve invested in excess of $2 million, we’ve received approval in principle to charter the vessel and at this late stage the Government is changing the rules.

“It’s got the potential to make the whole venture uneconomic and to stop something which would have created benefits for Ngati Tama and the economy as a whole.”

A number of Maori spokespeople have objected to the Government proposals, saying that they will impact most on Maori, make many Iwi businesses marginal or uneconomic, and prevent Iwi from participating fully in the fishing industry.

They point out that the fishing industry has spent 18 months working with government and union officials on proposals that will reinforce the laws and conditions that already exist, and will weed out the minority of poor charter vessel operators. Mr White supported measures to get rid of poor operators, saying if anyone was not complying with legal requirements the relevant departments should remedy that. “But it shouldn’t affect the rest of us.”

Maori spokespeople have also said the Government proposal won’t create more jobs and may well have the reverse effect.

Mr White said that Ngati Tama chose to use a foreign charter vessel because its crew had the expertise and know-how that the venture requires. “This vessel is not taking jobs away from Maori or New Zealanders as a whole.”

ENDS

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