International fishermen’s border exemption protected $380 million of exports

Fishing boats tied up in Lyttelton harbour in 2020, before foreign fishermen were granted an exemption to enter New Zealand and crew them.


Fishing boats tied up in Lyttelton harbour in 2020, earlier than international fishermen have been granted an exemption to enter New Zealand and crew them.

A border exemption for 570 deep sea fishermen saved about 400 Kiwis from redundancy and guarded $380 million of annual exports, based on the Ministry for Major Industries (MPI).

The exemption additionally allowed the ministry to strike a cope with the deep sea fishing industry to assist appeal to New Zealanders and assist curb its dependence on international employees.

Regardless of the initiative, the chief govt of one of many largest fishing firms doesn’t imagine the business will ever attain a degree the place it doesn’t use international mariners.

Sealord chief govt Doug Paulin mentioned the business has had points attracting New Zealand employees for a few years. He mentioned many different jobs rated greater in younger folks’s priorities.

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Sealord chief executive Doug Paulin says pay in the deep sea fishing industry is “relatively lucrative”.

Braden Fastier/Stuff

Sealord chief govt Doug Paulin says pay within the deep sea fishing business is “comparatively profitable”.

The work to scale back dependence on international employees was making good progress, nevertheless it was not a short-term repair, Paulin mentioned.

An upside of the business was incomes cash shortly, he mentioned. “[The pay] could be comparatively profitable … and we do not speak about it.”

Some employees spend two-thirds of their yr at sea – and all of their meals and lodging throughout that point is paid for.

Some within the business aged 23 to 25 have been already shopping for houses, he mentioned.

400 redundancies have been on the playing cards

International mariners who have been granted the border exemption began arriving in New Zealand in October final yr.

They instantly went under the public microscope when there was an outbreak of Covid-19 inside their Christchurch managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facility.

Of the 235 fishermen who have been there on the time, 31 caught the virus. The fishermen eventually infected two MIQ health workers as well.

Stuff has obtained a memo beneath the Official Info Act which particulars the Ministry of Major Industries reasoning for recommending the border exemption for deep sea fishermen to Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi.

It claims the financial influence of not granting an exemption for the international fishermen would have been “vital” for the businesses and regional port cities such Lyttelton, Timaru and Nelson.

Russian crew onboard the fishing vessel Profesor Aleksandrov at Port Nelson. (FILE PHOTO)


Russian crew onboard the fishing vessel Profesor Aleksandrov at Port Nelson. (FILE PHOTO)

The affected vessels generate about $380m yearly in export income, and preserving them tied up in port would have led to an estimated 400 redundancies in port communities over time, the memo says.

Based on Authorities figures, seafood exports are value greater than $1.5 billion a yr to New Zealand.

Decreasing dependence on international employees

A co-funded promoting marketing campaign with the Authorities is likely one of the methods the deep sea fishing business is promising to get rid of its international workforce inside 5 years.

The memo really useful commissioning unbiased analysis into why New Zealanders are usually not within the sector, print all manuals and signage on vessels in English, and assure employment for all appropriate fishing college graduates.

It additionally really useful the business spend money on studying and improvement alternatives at tertiary stage and fund 39 scholarships at a fishing school.

Fishing boats in Lyttelton, which is one of New Zealand's port towns that would have suffered if deep sea fishermen were not given a border exemption.


Fishing boats in Lyttelton, which is certainly one of New Zealand’s port cities that might have suffered if deep sea fishermen weren’t given a border exemption.

The amount of cash the business has to spend has been withheld by the workplace of the Immigration Minister for industrial causes.

The memo said the plan, developed by key fisheries sector representatives to draw Kiwis to the business, had the “aspirational aim” of filling all positions with New Zealanders inside 5 years.

An MPI spokesman mentioned the really useful situations detailed above have been “largely” included within the last plan, agreed upon as a part of the border exemption.

In December 2020, a seafood promoting marketing campaign was launched and a brand new careers/jobs web page posted on the Seafood NZ web site.

There at the moment are discussions between MPI and the Ministry of Social Improvement about making an settlement to help in bringing Kiwis into the deep sea fishing business.

The MPI spokesman mentioned the fishing business was anticipated to ship a progress report on the plan and initiatives earlier than the top of February.

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