The Maritime Union says the fishing industry must provide well paid jobs for New Zealand workers rather than relying on overseas labour.
The Union was responding to yesterdays (Thursday 7 March) announcement of the first reflagging of a foreign charter vessel under the New Zealand flag, following a Ministerial Inquiry into the fishing industry.
Maritime Union National Secretary Joe Fleetwood says the Union agreed the reflagging was a basic step but this was not a time for celebration.
There was no indication of any serious attempt to get more opportunities for New Zealand workers in the industry.
“We have tens of thousands of unemployed young people in New Zealand and they deserve a chance to get the benefit from resources that belong to all of us.”
Mr Fleetwood says youth unemployment was a social catastrophe in New Zealand and the Government needed to build a career pathway for young people into our fishing industry.
He says that recent incidents and convictions for illegal activities by foreign flagged vessels showed that an industry cleanup was “just beginning”.
“There is a long way to go to even begin to get this industry in shape.”
Mr Fleetwood says the damage has already been done to the international reputation of New Zealand fisheries.
“More importantly, we look back at a decade in which Government avoided dealing with systemic and flagrant abuses in the industry that have caused immense harm to many people.”
He says the Maritime Union would continue to assist overseas crews and promote seafarers rights as an affiliate of the International Transport Workers Federation.