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MPs To Inquire Into Fishing Industry Job Losses

NEW ZEALAND - The Service and Food Workers Union Nga Ringa Tota, representing over 2,000 workers in the seafood industry, will ask members of the Primary Production Select Committee to stand up for jobs in the fishing industry.

The petition, signed by over 12,000 New Zealanders, called for an inquiry into a range of issues, including the devastating job cuts in the industry as a result of changes in the past decade.

SFWU spokesperson, Neville Donaldson, said the union had conducted a long campaign to have the issues addressed.

He said now the Government has announced it will conduct an inquiry into the fishing industry, the union would seek the support of the select committee to ensure the inquiry was the first step in restoring jobs to the seafood industry.

"The inquiry must investigate the impact of changes in the industry and the subsequent loss of thousands of jobs and the need to ensure the industry provides jobs and career paths in the future," he said.

"Obviously the inquiry needs to investigate the appalling conditions on foreign vessels fishing in our exclusive economic zone," he said.

"But it needs to go further and investigate the impact on employment and job skills of Maori workers, who have traditionally made up a large percentage of the workforce, is a critical issue for this inquiry. At a time when Maori unemployment has risen to over 16 per cent, this is more important than ever."

Neville Donaldson said the Service and Food Workers Union has sought assurances from Government that the union will be invited to participate in the inquiry.

Maori Party fisheries spokesperson, Rahui Katene, also welcomed news.

“At the time I received the petition from the Union I outlined my concerns that so many jobs had been lost in the fishing industry. That position has not improved since I received the petition in February this year," she said.

“I am really pleased that the Primary Production Select Committee has considered the views of the Union, and I support the call for the Ministerial inquiry to be broadened to enable a comprehensive inquiry into the state of the New Zealand fishing industry; particularly in terms of jobs for Maori."

“Iwi leaders continue to assure me that they would also like to see rangatahi Maori employed in the fishing industry. I would hope that the inquiry will enable a full and robust analysis of all issues impacting on such a critical sector."

the Fish Site Editor

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