Government can put New Zealanders in containers, but it can’t give them jobs shipping them

The Maritime Union has a message for the Government: instead of jailing New Zealanders in containers, it would be better to have them working on the containers by rebuilding coastal shipping.

Corrections Minister Judith Collins announced today a “container unit” will be set up at Rimutaka Prison to house surging numbers of prisoners, the latest embarrassing step in New Zealand’s failure to confront the real issues behind crime.

Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says New Zealand workers have been forced out of maritime employment in their own country by allowing overseas labour to be exploited on the New Zealand coastal waters.

He says that due to the “open coast” policy introduced by National in the 1990s New Zealand had seen its shipping industry taken apart, while many other countries reserved their domestic merchant shipping and fisheries for local industry.

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