July 31, 2014
Parliament passes slave ships bill
A bill aimed at blocking so called slave ships from operating in New Zealand waters is set to pass today, after a spat over whether the Maori Party was blocking the move.
Labour fisheries spokesperson Damien O’Connor last night accused the Maori Party of refusing to give leave for the Fisheries (Foreign Charter Vessels and other Matters) Amendment Bill to come up for third reading.
The Maori Party denied it had ever been asked, and MPs this morning agreed without dissent to add it to the day’s business.
The bill requiring foreign fishing vessels to meet New Zealand minimum standards and wage rates has the support of the majority of Parliament.
But some iwi leaders are upset that a transition period they had negotiated for vessels fishing treaty settlement quota had been dropped from the final bill.
The problem of abuse of workers on the charter vessels used to catch high volume, low value deepwater species has been painted as an issue with the Maori sector, but there have been cases across the industry.
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