The Maritime Union is calling for a complete overhaul of New Zealand shipping policy to avoid a repeat of the Rena disaster.
The Maritime Union of New Zealand says it warned for years that opening New Zealand coastal and trans-Tasman shipping to international carriers would create biosecurity risks from exotic pests.
The Maritime Union says the budget announced today is a step backward for transport infrastructure.
Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the lack of support for the maritime industry is a glaring omission.
Mr Hanson says the abandonment of the SeaChange strategy to build up New Zealand shipping in favour of building more roads is a bad mistake.
“The Government has poured money into roading as the world hits peak oil and climate change. They are moving in exactly the wrong direction. Shipping is the transport mode of the future that is low-impact, environmentally responsible and cost effective in the long term, but has been sidelined.”
The Maritime Union has announced its priorities for the 2008 election.
Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the Union wants to see the return of a Labour-led Government to continue what he describes as incremental but positive moves to develop the maritime and transport industries.
Mr Hanson says the Maritime Union is strongly endorsing the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (CTU) election policy document, especially regarding key issues such as wages, employment relations, health and safety, ACC, and transport.
Members of the Maritime Union are staging a protest today on board a vessel at the Ports of Auckland.
Maritime Union Auckland Seafarers Branch Secretary Garry Parsloe says the crew members started their protest on the trans-Tasman freighter Rotoiti at the Ports of Auckland Bledisloe Terminal at 7am this morning Saturday 4 November 2006.
He says the crew are drawing attention to the fact that when the Rotoiti is withdrawn from service on 26 November, it will be the end of the last New Zealand crewed ship working on the trans-Tasman trade.