INDEPENDENT NEWS

Dunne: Thousands of fishing jobs go begging

Published: Mon 22 Dec 2003 11:13 AM
Dunne: Thousands of fishing jobs go begging
Thousands of New Zealand fishing jobs are going begging as this country continues to allow overseas fishing operators to pay foreign crews Third World pay rates in our waters, United Future leader Peter Dunne said from Nelson today.
"And quite aside from the fact that we shouldn't allow virtual slave labour in our backyard, we are undermining our own best interests," Mr Dunne said.
"For every off-shore fishing job on a boat, there are estimated to be up to eight on-shore jobs that could be created in processing, packaging and the like.
"If we even up the pay rates, then there will be more incentive to use New Zealand labour rather than foreign workers on foreign-owned vessels, often processing on-board.
That equates to potentially thousands of jobs for New Zealanders, if the industry is rebalanced to giving more incentive to employ Kiwis onshore and offshore.
"Those jobs won't ever exist if overseas operators are allowed to continue to pay foreign crew 16 pesos a day, or whatever they can get away with," he said.
Speaking from Nelson where he, and United Future MPs Marc Alexander and Larry Baldock, met with Talley's managing director, Peter Talley, Mr Dunne called for at least the New Zealand minimum pay rate to be applied to all foreign vessels fishing in New Zealand waters.
"Basically, we want to create a level playing field for the New Zealand fishing industry.
"Yes, we want foreign investment in fishing and we will still get it - but not at any price. All we would require is what is already required in most developed trading countries, including Australia
"Raising the bar to accepted international levels is not going to damage the industry, even if it causes a few shouts and cries initially.
"We have the fourth largest exclusive economic zone in the world, clean waters and an abundance of fish. Fishing companies from around the world want to buy into our waters - let's just make sure they are doing it on terms that don't sell New Zealand's best interests out."
Mr Dunne also called for more protection of the New Zealand fishing 'brand'
"Today, a foreign vessel can work our world-class fisheries, ship the catch out, and package it as Malaysian, Norwegian or any other nation's product.
"Let's think long-term about our image as a fishing nation. Foreign fishing contracts should require acknowledgement that New Zealand fish is New Zealand fish.".

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