17 Apr 2013

Sealord wants new provision to foreign charter laws

3:18 pm on 17 April 2013

Sealord has told a Parliamentary committee it wants to continue using foreign charter vessels without having to reflag them as New Zealand boats.

The fishing company, which is half-owned by Aotearoa Fisheries, has made a submission to the Primary Production Select Committee on the Foreign Charter Vessels and Other Matters Bill.

The bill would require the boats to be reflagged.

However, maritime lawyer Peter Dawson says Sealord has suggested an alternative where a vessel could be deemed a New Zealand ship while still flying its own flag.

Mr Dawson says the system is used in Australia.

However he says it would not protect foreign crews from labour abuse, because such a ship would be subject to the employment laws of its flag state, rather than New Zealand law.

Mr Dawson says the reflagging legislation is designed to protect crews from exploitation.