Lack of plan for maritime industry a serious problem

Maritime Union of New Zealand General Secretary Joe Fleetwood says recent statements from Minister of Transport Stephen Joyce and retiring Pacifica Shipping Chief Executive Rod Grout on New Zealand ports and shipping show the need for immediate action in the maritime industry.

Mr Fleetwood says it is incorrect for the National Government to say they want market forces decide the future of the maritime industry, when massive taxpayer investment was directed at roads and rail.

He says that a “hands off” approach to the maritime industry means major market players would dominate the market and make decisions that could harm New Zealand’s transport infrastructure.

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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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Maritime Union highlights negative effects of Fonterra port pull out

The Maritime Union says regional ports have been hit hard because of a decision by Fonterra to rail goods to distant ports.

Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the moves have already led to notices of major redundancies in the port of Timaru, greater casualization of the workforce, and was threatening the viability of some ports.

“This issue cannot be dealt with by ports continuing to compete each other into the ground. It must be addressed by national co-ordination of our transport system, not the wasteful, insecure and chaotic mess we have at the moment.”

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Maritime Union puts forward 2008 election goals

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.

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Shipping plan gets thumbs up

The Maritime Union of New Zealand says the release today of the final domestic shipping strategy “Sea Change” is a positive move for New Zealand shipping.

Maritime Union Vice President Garry Parsloe says the Government’s plans for coastal shipping are moving in the right direction.

He says $36 million of funding for developing coastal shipping over the next four years was a major boost.

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Last Kiwi crew on trans-Tasman vessel stage shipboard protest

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.

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Ferry company safety shortcuts not acceptable

The Maritime Union says attempts to sack the crew of the Cook Strait ferry “Kent” by employers Strait Shipping is driven by attempts by management to bypass new safety regulations.

Maritime Union Wellington Branch Secretary Mike Williams says the threats to sack a crew is because the workers will not compromise on health and safety.

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Maritime Union backs ‘Aratere’ ferry investigation

The Maritime Union says it supports the Maritime Safety Authority (MSA) decision not to allow the interisland ferry ‘Aratere’ to sail until it was satisfied the ferry was safe.

The ‘Aratere’ suffered steering problems yesterday evening in Wellington harbour.

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