New Zealand: Foreign Charter Vessels to be reflagged

Parliament house flag post

New Zealand: Foreign Charter Vessels to be reflagged

Posted 22/05/2012 by Dianne Heriot


Image source: Oyang 70, Photo by New Zealand Defence Force
On 22 May 2012, the New Zealand Government announced that it would require reflagging of foreign owned fishing vessels working in New Zealand waters, to "address labour, safety and fisheries practice concerns."

Commercial fishing in New Zealand is managed by a quota system, with all fishing quota owned by New Zealand companies. Foreign Charter Vessels (FCVs) are foreign owned and flagged fishing vessels leased by a New Zealand company to fish in New Zealand's Exclusive Economic Zone. As discussed in a Flagpost last year, the then Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture, the Hon Phil Heatley MP, and the Minister for Labour, the Hon Kate Wilkinson MP, had jointly convened a ministerial inquiry into the use and operation of FCVs. This followed reports of serious abuse and exploitation of crew of commercial fishing fleets operating in New Zealand waters.

The Inquiry took place from August 2011 to February 2012. While it did not investigate specific claims of abuse, the Inquiry Panel concluded it was clear that a small number of operators of foreign flagged FCVs had been mistreating their crews and disregarding New Zealand laws; and that the response of industry and of government agencies had been inadequate (as discussed in this Flagpost). It found that major changes and urgent action were required to improve the way New Zealand regulated the activities of FCVs in its waters.

When releasing the Report in March 2012, the Government "resolved to take a stronger line on the operation of foreign charter vessels (FCVs) in New Zealand waters" . The Primary Industries Minister, David Carter, and the Minister for Labour, Kate Wilkinson, stated that the Government accepted in principle and would act on the first six recommendations and would give further consideration to the remaining recommendations concerning legislative amendments, ratification of two key International Maritime Organisation Conventions and key policy changes.

Currently, New Zealand has only limited jurisdiction over FCVs operating in its waters, with "the health, safety and well being of all those on board" remaining the responsibility of the flag State. This has made it difficult for New Zealand agencies to enforce its Code of Practice on Foreign Fishing Crew. Reflagging the vessels would provide increased protection for crew as they would be subject to New Zealand law, including employment and workplace safety regulations, and enforcement mechanisms.

However, this goes further than the the Inquiry Report, which had recommended that FCVs be required to be placed on a demise charter with the crew employed under a New Zealand employment contract. (Under a demise charter, the vessel is chartered without crew and the New Zealand charter company then employs the crew; under time charter, the ship and crew are chartered as a package.) While noting that reflagging was seen by New Zealand government agencies as the "cleanest and most comprehensive way" of addressing issues of jursdiction, the Inquiry Panel stopped short of recommending that the all FCV's be reflagged as it was: "difficult to predict what the reaction of foreign owners would be or how soon the New Zealand fleet might be in a position to fill the gaps left by any departing FCVs whose owners decided not to reflag." (In 2010-11, FCVs took 44 percent of the country's fish exports by value.)

There will be a four-year transition period. During this time, the Government has stated that crews will be protected by "stronger monitoring and enforcement" of the existing regime. The impact on the industry and for quota owners is not clear, with media reports suggesting that detailed economic modeling had not been completed. The Government has indicated, hopefully, that "the transition period will also enable the fishing industry to adjust to the new regime."

The Government's announcement has been welcomed by New Zealand First, the Maori Party, the Maritime Union, the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, and the conservation organisation Forest and Bird. The response of one of the largest New Zealand fishing companies, Sanford Limited, has been more cautious. The Sealord group is reported as applauding the decision, while noting significant challenges ahead.  Craig Tuck, a lawyer representing a number of FCV crew and the founder of Slave Free Seas, hailed the announcement as a "a proud day" and a "huge victory for human rights", but also stated that "four years is too long" given the known weaknesses of current enforcement mechanisms.  Labor spokesperson, Darien Fenton, stated that she would seek assurances that a four year transition period was really necessary.


Thank you for your comment. If it does not require moderation, it will appear shortly.

Add your comment

[Click to expand]

We welcome your comments, or additional information which is relevant to a post. These can be added by clicking on the ‘Add your comment’ option above. Please note that the Parliamentary Library will moderate comments, and reserves the right not to publish comments that are inconsistent with the objectives of FlagPost. This includes spam, profanity and personal abuse, as well as comments that are factually incorrect or politically partisan. We will close comments after three months.




Captcha
Generate a new image
Type characters from the image:

Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print

FlagPost

Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament


Parliamentary Library Logo showing Information Analysis & Advice

Archive

Syndication

Tagcloud

Refugees asylum climate change immigration Australian foreign policy parliament social security welfare reform school education welfare policy health financing elections Australian Defence Force emissions trading women higher education private health insurance people trafficking Indigenous Australians illicit drugs gambling health reform federal election 2010 United Nations Employment Asia Middle East Medicare Australian Bureau of Statistics statistics sport health forced labour federal budget Afghanistan Industrial Relations Carbon Pricing Mechanism politics income management dental health United States aid disability child protection environment poker machines Australia in the Asian Century Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency steroids World Anti-Doping Agency National Disability Insurance Scheme detention aged care 43rd Parliament slavery health system Fair Work Act Australian Public Service governance labour force people smuggling transport debt taxation international relations constitution New Zealand food WADA Australian Crime Commission pharmaceutical benefits scheme public service reform law enforcement children's health Aviation foreign debt gross debt net debt defence capability parliamentary procedure Senate Senators and Members ALP ASADA Australian Federal Police criminal law Newstart Parenting Payment multiculturalism Youth Allowance sea farers federal state relations accountability Papua New Guinea youth paid parental leave pensions same sex relationships corruption coal seam gas customs planning federal election 2013 Australian Electoral Commission doping OECD crime health risks International Women's Day Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling sex slavery Special Rapporteur Northern Territory Emergency Response social policy terrorist groups Australian Security Intelligence Organisation carbon tax mining High Court Higher Education Loan Program HECS military history electoral reform employer employee renewable energy regional unemployment fishing European Union Federal Court family assistance skilled migration banking United Nations Security Council Australian economy forestry food labelling vocational education and training Drugs UK Parliament welfare systems Indonesia social media children Constitutional reform local government codes of conduct terrorist financing homelessness Parliamentary remuneration money laundering Trafficking in Persons Report energy science social inclusion human rights paternalism terrorism World Trade Organization Australia public health China housing affordability bulk billing political parties water productivity health policy Governor-General US economy trade unions domestic violence export liquefied natural gas foreign bribery firearms question time speaker superannuation public housing election results by-election expertise public policy climate Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change leadership voting Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry regulation Pacific Islands reserved seats research and development new psychoactive substances synthetic drugs UNODC ASIO intelligence community carbon markets animal health middle class welfare ADRV Census Indigenous constitutional recognition of local government referendum consumer laws PISA competition policy royal commission US politics violence against women language education baby bonus Leaders of the Opposition citizen engagement policymaking Australia Greens servitude Trafficking Protocol forced marriage Population rural and regional mental health alcohol entitlements ministries Hung Parliament social citizenship maritime Iran transparency ANZUS regional students school chaplains federal budget 2011-12 salary Medicare Locals primary care Building the Education Revolution smoking plain packaging tobacco cigarettes Asia; Japan; international relations Work Health and Safety Migration; asylum seekers; regional processing China; United States; international relations fiscal policy Racial Discrimination Act; social policy; human rights; indigenous Australians Foreign policy Southeast Asia Israel Palestine asylum refugees immigration political finance donations foreign aid disability employment Economics efficiency human rights; Racial Discrimination Act employment law bullying asylum seekers Animal law; food copyright Australian Law Reform Commission industry peace keeping contracts workplace policies same-sex marriage disorderly conduct integrity retirement Parliament House Australian Secret Intelligence Service welfare standing orders prime ministers election timetable sitting days First speech defence budget submarines workers financial sector Canada Somalia United Kingdom GDP Tasmania world heritage political engagement leave loading Trade; tariffs; safeguards; Anti-dumping public interest disclosure whistleblowing Productivity Commission limitation period universities Ireland cancer gene patents genetic testing suspension of standing and sessional orders live exports infant mortality honorary citizen railways disciplinary tribunals standard of proof World Health Organisation arts international students skilled graduate visas temporary employment visas apologies roads Italy national heritage NHMRC nutrition anti-dumping Rent Assistance obesity evidence law sacrament of confession sexual abuse US presidential election international days DFAT UN General Assembly deregulation Regulation Impact Statements administrative law small business Breaker Morant regional engagement social determinants of health abortion Members suspension workplace health and safety marine reserves hearing TAFE Victoria astronomy resources sector YMCA youth parliament Korea fuel rebate Australian Greens presidential nomination Racial Discrimination Act political parties preselection solar hot water Financial Action Taskforce Horn of Africa peacekeeping piracy Great Barrier Reef Stronger futures political financing political education Social Inclusion Board early childhood National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care Murray-Darling Basin sanctions Norway hospitals republic President Barack Obama Presidential visits qantas counselling Korean peninsula Work Choices biosecurity hendra environmental law federalism federation preselection therapeutic goods Therapeutic Goods Administration plebiscites computer games pests suicide nuclear COAG Ministerial Councils floods ADHD stimulant medication advertising electricity extradition standards conscience votes poverty preventative health rural health coastal erosion Parliamentary Budget Office NATO work-life balance

Show all
Show less