National changes tack... maybe | The Jackal

22 May 2012

National changes tack... maybe

Spanish flagged Oyang 75
Today, the Nelson Mail reported:

Foreign flagged fishing boats are to be banned over labour, safety and fisheries concerns.

The Government announced the surprise decision this afternoon amid ongoing controversy over abuses on the boats.

Primary Industries Minister David Carter and Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson said foreign-flagged fishing vessels would no longer be able to legally operate in New Zealand waters after a four-year transition period.

"The Government's decision sends a clear message that New Zealand is serious about the fair treatment of fishing crews, the safety of vessels and its international reputation for ethical and sustainable fishing practices," the ministers said.

Boats will have to be reflagged with New Zealand flags which will require them to meet New Zealand standards and requirements.

Legislation will be introduced to amend the Fisheries Act by the end of the year.

This will only work if we have a robust inspectorate and enough patrol boats on the water to ensure compliance. That's why it's a shame National is not funding our RNZ Navy properly so that they can utilize the equipment required to ensure our waters are properly patrolled.

On 14 May, Yahoo News reported:

Revelations that the Royal New Zealand Navy cannot put all its inshore patrol vessels to sea because of a lack of crew are a damning indictment on Defence Minister Jonathon Coleman's management of his portfolio, says Labour's Defence Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway.

Whether or not this is simply a policy change to make it appear that National actually gives a damn about the horrendous worker abuses, terrible safety record and the dumping and overfishing of our Kaimoana is yet to be seen, but considering Wilkinson's previous record on such things, I'm highly skeptical.

Let's hope though that it's a change of tack and not just more window dressing.