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Govt urged to move fast on foreign ships

Friday 2 Mar 2012 6:34 a.m.

The Oyang 70, which sank

The Oyang 70, which sank

A Government move to tighten controls on foreign chartered vessels fishing in New Zealand waters is being applauded by opposition parties but they want more done.

The Government is accepting six recommendations of a ministerial inquiry that found some operators have been mistreating crews and disregarding New Zealand law.

Primary Industries Minister David Carter says the government moved to protect New Zealand's reputation.

It was aware that US retailers Safeway and Walmart expressed concern at the allegations of slavery on the vessels.

Greens fishing spokesman Steffan Browning says the government should accept all 15 recommendations of the inquiry.

It should eventually phase out foreign charter vessels and get more New Zealanders working in the fishing industry.

Labour's Darien Fenton says the Government needs to set down a course of action to address the report in full.

"The horrific stories of crew being beaten into submission have appalled New Zealanders and damaged our international reputation.

"Crew aboard foreign vessels in New Zealand waters were found to be working in conditions akin to slave labour, with shocking safety standards and little or no access to medical treatment," she said.

All five foreign charter vessels under investigation for breaches of employment law or safety standards are flagged to Korea, the inquiry said.

The Government will update a code of practice and require foreign charter vessels to show they meet it, rather than make the Department of Labour prove they do not.

NZN

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