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MPs compare foreign crew conditions to slavery

Tuesday, 17 May 2005

MPs compare foreign crew conditions to slavery

United Future MPs Larry Baldock and Paul Adams today compared the conditions on board some foreign fishing vessels as akin to slavery, when tackling Labour Minister Paul Swain in Parliament today.

"There have been complaints about the working conditions on the foreign charter boats for a long time," Mr Adams said.

Mr Baldock described industry responses that claim the foreign vessels are necessary as akin "to the weak excuses given by industrialists and tobacco plantation owners in the British Empire when William Wilberforce was seeking to abolish slavery hundreds of years ago".

"It didn't wash then and it doesn't wash now," he said

"The first step to addressing this issue is to require New Zealand companies that contract these vessels to pay for the cost of placing a labour inspector and fisheries inspector on board all foreign chartered vessels so that we will know exactly what is occurring," Mr Adams said.

"United Future is more than ready to work constructively with the Government, but action always speaks louder than words and it's time for action," they said.

ENDS

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