28 Jul 2014

Law against exploitation at sea urged

5:47 am on 28 July 2014

The Maritime Union wants the Government to urgently push through a fishing reform bill for foreign vessels to combat what it calls slavery on the seas.

Its national secretary Joe Fleetwood said foreign seafarers working on the New Zealand coast were being exposed to poor living standards, abuse and unfair employment agreements.

He said the Fisheries Amendment Bill will mean foreign employers would have to abide by New Zealand standards.

"The New Zealand fish name, on the international market has been associated with slavery on the seas, we've had deaths, maimings, atrocities, abuses, it's about living standards, about having the employers having a social conscience."

Mr Fleetwood said he was concerned if the Bill was not passed next week, it would not be legislated until the middle of next year due to election-related delays.