Maritime Union outlines 2011 election priorities

The Maritime Union of New Zealand says secure jobs, improved wages and conditions, national sovereignty, and major improvements to New Zealand’s maritime and transport policy are its election priorities.

Maritime Union of New Zealand General Secretary Joe Fleetwood says there is an immediate need for an effective, efficient and environmentally friendly transport and logistics chain.

He says that the potential privatization and overseas buy up of New Zealand ports is a major threat to New Zealand remaining in control of its supply chain.

The current Government had no plan for coastal shipping, and the stranding of the Rena and problems with Foreign Charter Vessels (FCVs) in the fishing industry were glaring examples of how deregulation and falling standards were reducing New Zealand to the status of a developing nation.

“The National Government has focussed its entire transport strategy on putting more trucks on the road, when we need to be moving in the opposite direction of rail and coastal shipping to provide low impact, environmentally aware transport for the future.”

Mr Fleetwood says that worker’s wages and conditions were under enormous pressure, and unemployment was wrecking the lives of many, including the vulnerable young.

“The reality is that most workers in jobs are working longer, harder and for relatively less, and at the same time we see tens of thousands excluded from work and then attacked for being beneficiaries.”

The working class in New Zealand today are underpaid and over-worked, with high unemployment, casualization and a shrinking share of the economic pie, says Mr Fleetwood.

“This must be addressed not only by economic growth, but by increasing the share of wealth produced going to the producers – the workers.”

Casualization of jobs was creating massive problems in working class communities and was being ignored by the Government.

The third concern of the Union was how New Zealand’s sovereignty was being undermined.

New Zealanders must have the right to make our own economic and political choices, says Mr Fleetwood.

“This right is undermined by free trade deals such as the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, and John Key’s proposed asset sales that will remove our ability to determine our collective future as a community and nation.”

New Zealanders were in serious danger of becoming tenants in their own country if the National Party asset sales and privatization agenda was allowed to continue.

The full Maritime Union election statement could be viewed online at

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