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Baldock continues campaign for fishing crews

Wednesday, 18 May 2005

Baldock continues campaign for fishing crews

United Future MP, Larry Baldock, today continued his campaign for urgent action from the Government to overcome the appalling situation revealed by the report on employment conditions in the fishing industry.

"We have offered our support to the Government to take urgency at the first opportunity if legislation is needed to address this shameful matter," he told Parliament today.

Mr Baldock said the report showed foreign crew on vessels chartered by New Zealand fishing companies were being grossly under-paid and often beaten and treated shamefully.

"That is why it is important this investigation be continued to identify which New Zealand companies are turning a blind eye to this appalling treatment of foreign workers, so they can be named and held accountable, without a shadow being cast over all New Zealand companies and the good ones being tarred with the same brush.

"Why are we using these foreign charter vessels?

"Because that is how fishing quota holders get the best price for leasing their quota and I say it is wrong.

"It has developed as a practice that discriminates against New Zealand fisherman who want to lease quota and catch our fishing resource themselves, because the consequence of using foreign chartered vessels is that there is no margin for a reasonable profit for New Zealand fishermen and fishing companies.

"They pay our taxes and our wage rates but struggle to compete with these charter vessels using almost slave labour and paying no New Zealand taxes.

"United Future says the first step towards a solution is to require inspectors on every foreign vessel and to pass the cost of this onto the New Zealand companies that are chartering them," said Mr Baldock.


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