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Foreign fishing crews better protected

Monday 17 Dec 2012 3:08 p.m.

New rules are in force to protect foreign crews on fishing boats operating in New Zealand waters from unscrupulous employers (file)

New rules are in force to protect foreign crews on fishing boats operating in New Zealand waters from unscrupulous employers (file)

Foreign crews on fishing boats operating in New Zealand waters will have better protection against unscrupulous employers under new rules that came into force today.

Immigration Minister Nathan Guy says the fishing companies will be more closely monitored and crew members must have individual bank accounts so their wages can be paid directly to them in New Zealand.

Other changes include making the New Zealand partner in a charter the guarantor for crew wages and introducing a "fit and proper person" test before they can become a partner.

Numerous human rights abuses have been reported in recent years by foreigners, mostly Asian, on charter boats fishing in New Zealand waters.

The complaints have included physical abuse and slave wages.

The US State Department criticised New Zealand for allowing it to happen and in May the Government accepted an inquiry recommendation that all foreign-owned vessels must re-flag to New Zealand over a four-year transition period.

Mr Guy says that will mean they will be subject to the full range of New Zealand law, including employment relations and workplace health and safety.

NZN

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