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“Give Cook Strait Shippers a fair go”

29 August 2005

“Give Cook Strait Shippers a fair go” says Shipping Federation

Paul Nicholas, Manager of the New Zealand Shipping Federation, is astounded at way minor faults with shipping services across Cook Strait are being reported.

“Cook Strait vessels now offer a much higher level of service, comfort and reliability than ever before. None of the events associated with the recent introduction of new services on the Strait has come close to a public safety issue. Every minor issue has been dealt with as promptly and as careful as was required at the time,” Mr Nicholas said.

Mr Nicholas said some reporting on Strait services was misplaced, especially given the far superior record of the present services.

“Until recently, the issue with Cook Strait services was not minor teething problems on some sailings. Rather, it was that services did not sail at all. Industrial disruption and operational difficulties often held up passengers and freight for days. That doesn’t happen now.”

Mr Nicholas said that today the Strait is plied by more vessels, offering more competition, and moving more passengers and freight, than ever before.

“But Federation members feel there is a double standard in some reporting of minor shipping events. For example, no one suggests all rail services should stop when one train breaks down. But, on the Strait, every minor issue is blown up to imply a total crisis,” Mr Nicholas said.

“Cook Strait shippers should be given a ‘fair go’ rather than being undermined for the huge contribution they make to the national economy from both tourism and freight,“ Mr Nicholas concluded.

ENDS

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