Aquaculture for all

Union: Minister Takes a Bite Out of Employment

Economics Politics +2 more

NEW ZEALAND - The Maritime Union of New Zealand has released a statement claiming that the Fisheries Minister is throwing New Zealand jobs to the sharks.

The Maritime Union has slammed comments by Fisheries Minister Phil Heatley about employment in New Zealand's fishing industry, and say they make a bad joke out of the Government's commitment to protect jobs.

Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says Mr Heatley has publicly admitted that New Zealand jobs are not a priority in the New Zealand fishing industry. The comments were made at Parliament’s primary production select committee, when Mr Heatley was being questioned about the objectives in the 2030 Fisheries Plan.

Mr Hanson says the Maritime Union is angry and perturbed at the lack of any forethought by many of the major players in the industry and the irresponsible role of the Government.

"We do accept some fishing companies are being responsible and fishing their quota with state of the art vessels and New Zealand fishermen, but unfortunately they are fishing in competition with other New Zealand companies in joint ventures with foreign operators."

Mr Hanson says joint venture foreign charter vessels catching New Zealand quota use and often exploit foreign crews from low wage economies.

He says promises to use New Zealand workers in the industry have been broken.

"The fishing industry is one of our most valuable assets, and New Zealand workers have the right to work in this industry as well as the responsibility to manage this globally endangered resource."

Mr Hanson says if the private sector is unable or unwilling to train and employ young New Zealand workers, the Government should be acquiring the vessels and training New Zealand crews to fish our waters.

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