Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Foreign fishing crew report released

Foreign fishing crew report released

Labour Minister Paul Swain today released a report into the working conditions of foreign crew on New Zealand fishing vessels.

"Associate Immigration Minister Damien O'Connor and I called for this report after concerns about employment practices in the fishing industry were raised with us," Mr Swain said.

Mr Swain said the report focused on companies who had approvals for foreign workers on domestic vessels. These were Amaltal Fishing Ltd and Sealord Ltd.

Mr Swain said he had been advised that the Department of Labour found that both companies appeared to comply with health and safety and immigration legislation.

The department's main concerns were around the Minimum Wage and Wages Protection Acts, which require employers to show that workers receive the minimum wage for the hours they work in each pay period.

"The fishing industry's pay practices are complicated because people are out fishing for large parts of the year. The department's view is that fishers should be paid the minimum wage over each pay period. The companies argued that averaging pay for the hours worked over one or more fishing trips complied with the law," Mr Swain said.

"The companies are clear they need to meet their legal obligations and they are committed to demonstrating that they are paying workers appropriately.

"This issue is primarily about the timing of payments and needs to be sorted out. Sealord has agreed to work with the department and the New Zealand Fishing Industry Guild to change its pay practices to ensure compliance with the law.

"Amaltal, on the other hand, disagrees with the department's position. The department and Amaltal have agreed to go to the Employment Relations Authority to resolve this issue. Amaltal has also agreed to provide evidence that it is complying with the Holidays Act.

Mr Swain said in the meantime, the Government is working with the fishing industry to develop a longer-term strategy to address labour and skills issues. This will be similar to the horticulture strategy, which is already working well.

"The fishing industry is an important part of the New Zealand economy. The industry employs over 26,000 people, is one of our largest exporters with yearly earnings of more than $1 billion, and is a major contributor to regional economies.

"It is in everyone's interest that the fishing industry is able to attract the skilled workers the industry needs, so it can keep contributing to the New Zealand economy."

Mr Swain said the use of foreign workers was important for the fishing industry with unemployment at a record low, but immigration would not be used as a tool to drive down the pay and conditions of New Zealanders.

For further information on the report's findings contact Department of Labour Deputy Secretary Andrew Annakin. Copies of the report are available from Department of Labour's external communications manager Sue McCabe.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Vulnerable Kids, RNZ Funding, And Poppy

The decision to remove the word ‘vulnerable’ from the Ministry for Vulnerable Children could well mark a whole shift in approach to the care of children in need.

And I’m hedging with the ‘could well’ only because the Ardern government hasn’t yet spelled out whether the name change it has announced will also involve a rejection of the controversial use of Big Data to try and predict those children deemed to be at highest risk of inter-generational reliance on welfare support. More>>


Principals' Federation: End Of National Standards

Today the Minister of Education announced that the Government has stopped the controversial National Standards system of assessment and declared them an arbitrary measure which did not raise children's achievement as the previous Government intended. More>>


Public Good: People’s Report On Public Broadcasting And Media Presented

The People’s Commission on Public Broadcasting and Media, was crowdfunded and was informed by an extensive consultation, seeking the views of both those working in Media as well as gathering input both online and in person from ordinary Citizens. More>>


RBNZ To RNZB: PM's Press Conference

Prime Minister Jacinda Adern was joined by Minister of Finance Grant Robertson and Minister for Children Tracey Martin to announce the appointment of Adrian Orr as the new Governor of the Reserve Bank and the name change of the Ministry for Vulnerable Children to ‘Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children’. More>>


'Taming Globalised Capital': Why Is Labour Supporting Investment Rules In WTO?

‘Today, we learned the new government has added New Zealand’s name to a proposal designed to lead to foreign investment rules in the WTO at this week’s ministerial meeting in Argentina,’ said Auckland University Professor Jane Kelsey. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Politics Of Scaring Voters Back Into Line

Fear has always been a useful mobilising tool in politics… yet in 2017, bogeymen of all shapes and sizes seem to have fallen on hard times. For years, the National party had painted itself as being the only reliable defensive bastion against the terrifying prospect of a centre-left government… More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Drinking Water As A Failure Of Political Leadership

It is almost possible to feel sorry for the Health Ministry in their terrible, no good, very bad week... More>>





Featured InfoPages