A bill aimed at forcing foreign-owned commercial fishing vessels to operate under New Zealand regulations when working in our waters has unanimously passed its third and final reading in Parliament.
The Fisheries (Foreign Carter Vessels and Other Matters) Bill will require all foreign charter vessels to carry the New Zealand flag from 1 May 2016, and operate under full New Zealand legal jurisdiction.
"This will give us full jurisdiction over areas like employment and labour conditions on vessels fishing in New Zealand's Exclusive Economic Zone. It will help ensure fair standards for all fishing crews working in our waters," says primary industries minister Nathan Guy.
Greens MP Steffan Browning says passing the final reading of the Fisheries Amendment Bill ensures "the end of a shameful era of human rights abuses under successive governments and several fishing companies".
The Bill is part of a range of measures that followed a Ministerial inquiry in 2012 into questionable safety, labour and fishing practices on some foreign-owned vessels.
The inquiry was prompted after revelations in 2011 of virtual slave-like labour conditions inflicted on around 2000 mainly Asian men working 27 foreign charter vessels, most of them aging Korean boats fishing Maori quota.