Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


The FCV Bill – Flagging 30 years of failures?

The FCV Bill – Flagging 30 years of failures?

Paying seafarers at least a minimum wage under the Minimum Wage Act 1983 has applied to the New Zealand fishing industry for more than 30 years. It was, and is, a basic protection which had two universals – it was universally accepted by the fishing industry and relevant government agencies, and universally ignored by them as well.

The Fisheries Act 1996 specifically bought the minimum wage into focus – even then the industry ignored it and government officials did nothing to enforce it even when they continually fell over it in their operational activities.

After 150 desertions, countless claims of abuse and cruel working conditions akin to forced labour aboard foreign charter vessels (FCVs), the Code of Practice was introduced in 2006 and it was based on the capacity and ability of MBIE to audit the employer / NZ charter company in order to protect vulnerable migrant workers.

It is clear that the law has failed the migrant fishermen fishing in New Zealand’s waters.

The failures in this industry against basic human decency and human rights are legion.

MBIE – who should have been at the bridgehead to sort this – have failed on a massive scale.

They failed in their role as auditor and passed the baton to PWC and KPMG who accepted forged documents (timesheets, paysheets, visa applications) as correct and did not consider the complexity and sophistication of the business models that underpin $30M of claimed non payments to crew.

MBIE failed to stop granting Approvals in Principle (AIP) to enable the recruitment of more foreign (and underpaid) crew.

They failed to uphold the rule of law and basic civil society principles to stop exploitation.

Furthermore, they failed in the role of enforcer where we now see the Korean authorities successfully prosecuting for crimes committed in New Zealand where our authorities would not intervene (in cases of falsified documents).

Through their inaction, the MBIE has allowed for fishermen to be paid on timesheets that assert, by inference, that the fisherman defy the laws of physics and have superhuman abilities to work and process large volumes of fish in a tiny amount of time.

Slave Free Seas has been active in various courts and international forums bringing light to an array of behaviours and industry practices that are incongruous in a seemingly well-functioning civil society.

Slave Free Seas asks “how hard is it for the government and indeed the industry to enforce the laws that already exist without creating yet more laws that may or may not receive the resourcing to actually do something?”

Slave Free Seas believes the inaction of the New Zealand government on this issue shows that it is not possible to rely on officials to prevent and adequately redress human rights abuses against the most vulnerable people working in New Zealand society. Slave Free Seas has taken action to stop this occurring again by drawing on our experience to develop a toolbox of strategies that can be used by advocates around the world to hold the perpetrators of these kinds of abuses accountable for their actions.

After 30 years it seems that this Bill is a banner acknowledging that everything else has been tried and failed. The sector appears to be unbridled, strategic and determined to be outside of a regulatory framework.

It has been two years since the Ministerial Inquiry into potential labour abuse in the fishing industry, and it is two more years to 2016 – when the changes made by the Bill come into effect – and in the meantime the New Zealand government is implicitly legitimizing forced labour by allowing a business model based on exploitation to continue, without taking steps to right existing and clearly identified wrongs.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On The Inquiry Into One Case Of Dirty Politics

Suddenly, we’re awash in inquiries and reviews. (It feels almost as if the Greens won the last election.) Caught out by the damning inquiry by SIS Inspector-General Cheryl Gwyn, the government’s response yesterday was utterly in character – it released two other major reports at the same time to try and distract public attention...

Inquiries are supposed to re-assure the public. What these inquiry outcomes share in common is a government culture of zero responsibility. More>>

IGIS ON SIS:

 
 

Parliament Today:

Temporary Release Crackdown Continues: Corrections Review Of Phillip Smith Case

“The review by Corrections’ Chief Custodial Officer reveals that the plan for Smith’s series of temporary releases was overly ambitious and misinformed. He’s a highly manipulative and deceptive person who although technically eligible, should not have been considered for temporary release." More>>

ALSO:

White Ribbon Day: Govt Resumes Sexual Violence Trial Proceedings Work

Justice Minister Amy Adams has asked the Law Commission to resume work on proposals for better supporting victims of sexual violence through the criminal process. The Law Commission will revisit its previous work on alternative pre-trial and trial processes to identify options for improving complainants’ experience in court. More>>

ALSO:

"New Faces, Wise Heads": Andrew Little Announces New Labour Line Up

Labour Leader Andrew Little today announced a bold new caucus line up which brings forward new talent and draws on the party’s depth of experience. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Rick Ellis As Te Papa’s New CEO

The recent appointment of former TVNZ boss Rick Ellis to head Te Papa has copped a fair bit of criticism. Much of it has been inspired by the suspicion that Ellis has been hired to pursue the same purely commercial goals as he did at TVNZ, while similarly neglecting the serious cultural side of his mandate. More>>

Passport Cancellation, Surveillance: Draft 'Foreign Fighters Legislation' Released

The final draft of the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill contains proposals previously announced by Mr Key in a major national security speech earlier this month. More>>

ALSO:

Related

Joint Statement: Establishment Of NZ-China Strategic Partnership

At the invitation of Governor-General Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae and Prime Minister The Rt Hon John Key of New Zealand, President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China made a state visit to New Zealand from 19 to 21 November 2014... More>>

ALSO:

Savings Targets: Health Procurement Plan Changes Direction

Next steps in implementing DHB shared services programme Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says the Government has agreed to explore a proposal put forward by DHBs to move implementation of the shared services programme to a DHB-owned vehicle. More>>

ALSO:

More on Health Policy:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news