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Foreign Charter Vessels Amendment Bill passes third reading

Hon Nathan Guy
Minister for Primary Industries

31 July 2014 Media Statement

Fisheries (Foreign Charter Vessels and Other Matters) Amendment Bill passes third reading

A bill to strengthen the regulation of foreign-owned commercial fishing vessels operating in New Zealand waters has passed its third and final reading in Parliament today.

The Fisheries (Foreign Charter Vessels and Other Matters) Bill will require all foreign charter vessels to carry the New Zealand flag from 1 May 2016, and operate under full New Zealand legal jurisdiction.

“This bill will help maintain our reputation around the world. It shows that we are serious about the fair treatment of fishing crews, the safety of vessels and New Zealand’s international reputation for ethical and sustainable fishing practices,” Mr Guy says.

“This will give us full jurisdiction over areas like employment and labour conditions on vessels fishing in New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone. It will help ensure fair standards for all fishing crews working in our waters.”

“I want to thank other political parties for allowing this bill to pass on the final sitting day of this Parliament.”

The key features of the Bill are:
• Require all foreign-owned vessels operating in New Zealand waters to carry the New Zealand flag from 1 May 2016, and operate under full New Zealand legal jurisdiction.
• Enable the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to consider employment, pollution/waste discharge issues, vessel safety matters as well as fisheries matters, when assessing applications for registration of foreign-owned fishing vessels;
• Allow MPI Fishery Observers to collect information on employment pollution/waste discharge, and vessel safety matters, as well as the scientific information they collect now:
• Confer new powers to suspend the registration of non-compliant foreign-owned fishing vessels.

The Bill is part of a range of measures that followed a Ministerial inquiry in 2012 into questionable safety, labour and fishing practices on some foreign-owned vessels.

The Government has already introduced a range of measures including:
• Compulsory individual New Zealand bank accounts for crew members
• Observers on all foreign-owned fishing vessels.
• Independent audits of charter parties to ensure crew visa requirements – including wages – are being adhered to.

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