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Fishing Companies Encouraged to Shift to Australia

New Zealand Legislation Encourages Fishing Companies to Shift to Australia

Legislation before the Parliaments of New Zealand and Australia will encourage New Zealand companies to move their headquarters to Australia. Any New Zealand fishing company that wants to expand its business beyond the New Zealand EEZ will be better off to have an Australian rather than a New Zealand base.

Yesterday Australia introduced its version of legislation to meet the requirements of the UN Fish Stocks Agreement. It is much more in keeping with the requirements spelled out in the Agreement. The way the Australian government sets about meeting its international obligations vindicates the criticism levelled at the New Zealand Legislation by SeaFIC and the New Zealand fishing industry.

The Fisheries Amendment Bill (3) makes any New Zealand based person or business into a criminal the moment they go outside the New Zealand EEZ if they operate a fishing vessel from anywhere in the world without a permit from the New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries. Australia will limit its interests only to its fishing vessels or ensuring that its nationals have obtained proper permits from other countries when they are using their vessels. The Australian approach is measured and much more reasonable.

Both New Zealand and Australia will require that fishing vessels flying their flag and fishing outside their respective EEZs have a permit to do so.

However the Australian legislation is only interested if the vessel is going to fish for species covered by a recognised regional fisheries management agreement or is a species that relates directly to the Australian fishery.
New Zealand on the other hand wants to take responsibility for the world and restrict activity of its nationals, regardless of whether there is any discernible New Zealand national interest.

The Australian approach is measured and much more reasonable.

The Fisheries Amendment Bill (1) now before New Zealand’s Parliament lifts the special restrictions on foreign investment in New Zealand fisheries. Foreign investment proposals will be dealt with largely by the Overseas Investment Commission. This will make it easier for foreigners to buy up fishing quota, and it will make it easy for New Zealand companies to relocate their company bases to Australia and operate fishing businesses inside the New Zealand EEZ from there.

Any New Zealand Company that sees its future being larger than the opportunities available in New Zealand would be better off expanding its business from a base in Australia rather than from a base in New Zealand. The bureaucratic restrictions in New Zealand requiring vessels and persons to obtain permits to fish beyond the 200 mile zone – and the threat that New Zealand’s cost recovery policies will also extend beyond the zone – will make relocation an attractive option.

In order to make certain that the long hand of New Zealand bureaucracy is restrained, it will probably be necessary for the principals of any former New Zealand fishing business to seek Australian nationality as well and give up their New Zealand citizenship. Only then will be able to live without fear of criminal prosecution.


NZ Deep Water Fishing Fleet Exodus To Australia Predicted In The Wake Of Odious Legislation.

The New Zealand Seafood Industry Council is deeply concerned that proposed Australian Fisheries legislation will New Zealand fishing companies relocate across the Tasman.

General Manager Trade and Information Alastair Macfarlane, said that unlike the New Zealand legislation the Australian fisheries bill did not impose draconian measures on their fishing fleets.

“It is quite reasonable to expect that we will see a number of our larger companies who concentrate their activities on deep sea fisheries, shift their businesses to Australia.”

“While New Zealand’s Fisheries Amendment Bill No 3 imposes conditions which elevate our law above that of foreign countries, Australia is not so arrogant and is quite happy to see its fleet abide by the rules governing the fisheries of foreign countries,” he said.

“The Government, on the bad advice of officials has decided to impose onerous conditions which will effectively turn our fishermen into criminals. This is just another example of the radical idealism that typifies the advice officials give our government without any regard to the practical realities of operating in a real business environment.”

“Our fishing companies have been expanding their global fishing interests for some time but they can only continue to increase the economic benefits to this country against a backdrop of supportive but responsible legislation.”

“To that end, the current New Zealand legislation will hamper the growth of our deep sea fleet, while Australia’s legislation will provide a springboard for greater development.”

The obvious result will be NZ fishing companies shifting to Australia with the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars to the New Zealand economy.


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