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Coastal shipping gets recognition, deserves more

6 November 2007

Coastal shipping gets some recognition, deserves more

The Green Party is delighted to see the Government has finally taken a stand in support of coastal shipping, by establishing a Maritime Liaison Unit within the Transport Ministry, amid other measures.

"We are pleased the Government has finally woken up to the fact that nurturing and developing coastal shipping is a critical part of future proofing New Zealand against the joint impacts of peak oil and climate change," Greens' Spokesperson for Regional Economic Development Sue Bradford says.

"It is high time coastal shipping had a voice, and a focus within the Ministry. Shipping companies and the maritime unions have spent the last eight years trying to get Labour to respond to that need, as has the Green Party.

"We are also pleased that this new Maritime Liaison Unit will be geared to helping the coastal maritime sector to access funds, and that the Government and the sector are going to work together to improve training development paths for skilled workers.

"However, we remain concerned about the lack of any firm promise or commitment to increase the investment in ( and resourcing for) coastal shipping. We would hope to see major announcements along those lines in next year's Budget. Some commitment also has to be made to set aside coastal routes for local shipping operators prepared to offer New Zealand levels of wages and working conditions.

"While the Government talks about 'perceived' barriers to funding, in fact it acknowledges that only barging has received alternatives-to-roading funding. Quite clearly, coastal shipping simply hasn't been in the picture so far - and the barriers to funding remain very real, not simply 'perceived.'

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"We also await with interest the development of a Ports Strategy - an essential part of the equation which the Government has so far failed to address.

"Coastal shipping is a key part of the alternatives-to-roads strategy. The more freight we can get on to ships the better - it helps mitigate climate change, and cuts costs in the face of ever rising oil prices," Ms Bradford says.


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