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Fishing industry inquiry must be wide-ranging

Spokesperson on Trade
Labour List MP

4 August 2011

Fishing industry inquiry must be wide-ranging

The Labour Party says it will give its full support to a wide-ranging inquiry into deep-seated issues within the fishing industry, allegations of which include devastating job cuts and foreign crew exploitation.

The Service and Food Workers Union today sought support for a comprehensive inquiry from Parliament’s Primary Production Selection Committee, saying the Government had to investigate a range of issues.

Labour’s Spokesperson on Trade Maryan Street said the Union’s pleas to the committee were heartfelt.

“The issues it highlighted included the need to review the structure of the fishing industry and the impact it had on Maori-owned companies and Maori working in the sector, building skills and jobs for New Zealanders, adding value to fish products onshore rather than exporting base product to China for processing, and examining wage rates for locals, and for overseas crew.”

She said Labour and Progressive MPs at the committee also supported the right of the Service and Food Workers’ Union to contribute to determining the terms of reference for the Government inquiry. “That’s something the Minister of Fisheries has denied them.”

West Coast Labour MP and committee member, Damien O’Connor, suggested quota owners could submit a fisheries plan that included details of the catch, how and where it would be processed, and where possible, valued added marketing.

“The resource is a public asset. The quota is a right that is subject to constraints of sustainability. And that means social and environmental sustainability as well as economic,” Damien O’Connor said.


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