Home > Dollars & Sense, Social Issues > A Slave by any other name (Part Toru)

A Slave by any other name (Part Toru)

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Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking

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Foreign Chartered Vessels (FCVs) have been  in the media recently for a whole host of reasons – all bad. Shocking working conditions; wages held back by employers; sexual abuse; violence; threats to crews’ families; illegal fish dumping… the list goes on and on.

These abuses were happening in our territorial waters by fishing vessels under contract to New Zealand companies. Whichever way one look at it, responsibility for these shocking abuses and practices has been sheeted home firmly to our country.

After a ministerial inquiry came out with a damning report, and TV3 showed video images of fish being illegally dumped – the problem could no longer be hidden or ignored any longer.

Even right wing blogger, David Farrar, recognised the implications to our internation reputation and our fishing industry, if these abuses were allowed to continue. (Though Mr Farrar did not extend his concerns for foreign fishing crews to Ports of Auckland workers, unfortunately.)

See:  Slavery on our seas

I suspect the Nats were between a rock and a hard place on this one. Our American cuzzies were starting to sit up and take notice that we were using slave labour to produce our fishing exports, and some of our clients in the US of A were none too happy.

See: Slaves Put Squid on Dining Tables From South Pacific

When even a business news-site like Bloomberg gets a tad anxious about our behaviour, you know things are getting bad.

If this blogger was the conspiracy-theorist type, I’d be guessing that somewhere along the way, someone from the US Embassy had a ‘quiet word’ in David Carter’s ear – and told him to knock off the slave-galley thing or risk U.S. State Department naming & shaming.

Not exactly a good look for li’l ole New Zealand…

Cynical? Maybe. But National ain’t exactly well known for being on the vanguard of workers’ rights. Not unless I’ve tumbled into a Parallel Universe without noticing.

Reflagging FCVs as New Zealand vessels and according foreign crews the same rights and working conditions as our own workers is long overdue.  Substandard pay and working conditions were an outrageous obscenity that should never have been permitted in the first place. Any fool could have foreseen the inevitable consequences.

This blogger welcomes National finally adopting a common sense approach to this mess.

This blogger, however, questions why foreign companies will be allowed four years to re-flag!? Twelve months should be ample time.

National has come up with the solution (and it’s a good solution) – so why delay implementing it?

Four years simply allows these abuses to continue, and pushes the solution to this problem into the distant future. It also takes the heat off the government.

Cynical? Not at all. National has ‘form‘  on issues like these.

An incoming Labour-led government must, as a priority for a new Minister of Fisheries, bring the date forward to twelves months. The world is watching us, and we cannot afford to muck around and attract further criticisms from the international community, our customers, and those who take an interest in human rights issues.

Slavery – it’s not a good look. And it’s not the Kiwi way.

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Prevous blogposts

Is this where New Zealand is heading?

Foreign fishing boats, Hobbits, and the National Guvmint

A Slave by any other name

A Slave by any other name (Part Rua)

References

NZ Govt: Ministerial inquiry into Foreign Charter Vessels

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