Houses Rises After Slave Ships Bill Passes

by Editor on Thursday, July 31, 2014 — 1:01 PM

The House rose for lunch today after passing legislation to ban “slave ships”.

When the House sat under extended hours provisions this morning MPs agreed to add the third reading of the Fisheries (Foreign Charter Vessels and Other Matters) Amendment Bill to business.

The bill requires all foreign owned fishing vessels to fly under a New Zealand flag from May 2016 and obey all New Zealand laws including labour laws. The bill follows a review into “slave” ships operating in New Zealand waters and seeks to clamp down on human right abuses on some fishing vessels.

The bill was reported back from select committee with an amendment which would have given an exemption to treaty settlement quota holders after lobbying from iwi controlled fishing companies.

This delayed the bill for some time and MPs finally debated the committee stage last night which removed the treaty quota exemptions.

Last night Opposition MPs accused the Maori Party of blocking the passage of this bill into law in this Parliament, no members of the Maori Party were in the House to answer the accusations though they denied this in a press release.

This morning Maori Party Leader Te Ururoa Flavell said he had received an apology after being wrongly accused of blocking the bill. His party still had problems with aspects of the bill and while they had “zero tolerance” of foreign workers being treated harshly there were other issues as well.

When iwi had won quota as part of treaty settlements they did not have the resources to completely use the value of this quota. They had to use foreign ships and the Maori Party had wanted to give iwi more time to adjust to the extra costs the bill would impose and they would continue to fight for this in the next Parliament. On balance though the Maori Party supported the legislation to stamp out human rights abuses, Flavell said.

The bill completed its third reading on a voice vote and the House rose for lunch.

Earlier when the House resumed at 9am the Parliamentary Privilege Bill completed its committee stage and was given its third reading without debate on a voice vote.

MPs debated and agreed to the recommendations of the Review of Standing Orders , this will bring in a number of changes to Parliament’s rules when it reforms after the next election.

MPs also instructed the Regulations Review Committee to inquire into Parliament’s legislative response to future national emergencies. This follows review of lessons learnt from legislation passed in the wake of the Canterbury quakes.

The Crimes (Match-fixing) Amendment Bill also received its first reading on a voice vote and was sent to the law and order committee for consideration.

The Business Committee has also agreed to a shortened process on the Kaikoura (Te Tai-o-Marokura) Marine Management Bill and it completed its committee stage and was given a third reading without debate immediately on a voice vote.

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