An outrageous submission (and in the current Rena situation, unfortunate) from SeaFIC on the first day of the hearings of the Ministerial Inquiry into the treatment of crew on Foreign Chartered Vessels in the Fishing Industry.
New Zealand’s fishing industry needs more cheap Asian labour not less, the Seafood Industry Council (SeaFIC) told a ministerial inquiry into the use of foreign charter vessels (FCVs).
SeaFIC says New Zealand-flagged fishing boats cannot get local crews and they now want to import low wage labour as well. Despite high unemployment it was hard to get New Zealanders to work on fishing boats.
SeaFIC says FCVs hiring Asian crews was no different to companies going to low wage countries.
“Many New Zealand businesses have exported jobs previously done in New Zealand to other countries with wage rates considerably less than minimum wage rates in New Zealand.”
New Zealand was seen in other countries as a source of cheap skilled labour and pointed to Qantas hiring New Zealand crews at rates lower than Australians would get. The New Zealand film industry was based on cheap labour, SeaFIC said. (hah, funny that!)
SeaFIC say there is no evidence that FCV companies are failing to pay their crews according a code of practice which requires crews to receive the New Zealand minimum wage.
New Zealand’s reputation is not a function of compliance by the companies, but the result of public opinion.
“The intensity of comment in the media, whether based on fact or allegation, may present risk to international reputation.”