Overseas trade endangered unless New Zealand has a maritime strategy

The Maritime Union of New Zealand says that New Zealand’s overseas trade could be in jeopardy unless the Government has a plan for ports and the maritime sector.

Maritime Union General Secretary Joe Fleetwood, responding to comments from the Minister of Transport Hon. Stephen Joyce, says it is not good enough for the Government to leave it to chance when 99% of New Zealand’s imports and exports are shipped.

He says that there is widespread concern in the industry that in future cargo could be hubbed through a large Australian port, with complex and negative effects for New Zealand.

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Public Meeting for Port of Timaru – Thursday 17 September 2009

The Maritime Union of New Zealand is hosting a public meeting on the future of the Port of Timaru. The meeting will be held at “Robbies” (Hibernian Hotel), Latter Street, Timaru on Thursday 17 September starting at 7.30pm sharp.

All concerned local people are invited to the meeting, including port workers, unions, business, industry, farmers, and all those concerned with the future of the port.

For more information see the Port of Timaru campaign website.

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Where does Minister of Transport Steven Joyce stand in regional ports furore?

The Maritime Union is asking where the Government and the Minister of Transport stands on the future of regional ports after Fonterra announced it was withdrawing from some regional ports in favour of transporting goods by long distance rail last month.

Jobs are under threat, casualization is hitting workers hard, and the viability of regional ports is under a cloud after the decision, which has created intense debate in the regions and the transport industry.

Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the union’s national executive met with a Fonterra representative earlier this week.

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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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Minister of Social Development has attacked freedom of speech

UPDATED: see TV interview here

The Maritime Union of New Zealand says that actions of Social Development Minister Paula Bennett and her office in releasing private information of New Zealand citizens is an attack of freedom of speech.

Maritime Union spokesperson Victor Billot says the deliberate release of the incomes of two solo mothers to the media was a sinister attempt to bully people into submission.

The two women had criticized cuts to training allowances that would make it more difficult for them to study and improve their qualifications.

“The actions of the Minister and her office are not about providing information for reasoned debate, it is clearly a tactic to frighten and bully anyone who stands up and has an opinion.”

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Fast food jobs shows National Government’s contempt for young workers

The Maritime Union says the National Government’s plan to act as a compulsory recruitment agency for McDonalds fast food chain is a travesty.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has described an agreement between WINZ and McDonalds that will provide up to 7000 unemployed workers for the fast-food chain’s growth plans over the next five years.

Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the scheme has two beneficiaries – a Government with a failing jobs policy, and a global corporation that will suck profits out of New Zealand.

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Maritime Union will fight attack on job security by 90 day fire at will bill

The Maritime Union says it will fight to protect job security as the backlash grows against the National Government’s attempt to push through the “fire at will” bill before Christmas.

Maritime Union of New Zealand General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the attempt to rush through the 90 day “fire at will” bill through at a time of mounting unemployment and job insecurity is madness.

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