7 Oct 2011

Fishing inquiry expects strong iwi interest

7:16 pm on 7 October 2011

The inquiry into the use of foreign fishing vessels in New Zealand waters is expecting a good response from iwi to its call for submissions on the issue.

Written submissions to the ministerial panel carrying out the investigation closed on Friday 7 October.

The investigation follows accusations of ill-treatment of workers aboard some foreign charter vessels, including inhumane working conditions, physical and sexual abuse.

Former Labour government minister Paul Swain, who is heading the inquiry, says it will not specifically look at whether Maori should be crewing the vessels that fish their quota.

However, he is expecting tribes who have quota to have views on the panel's three terms of reference: namely, whether New Zealand gets the maximum economic return on the fisheries, whether there are any international reputation and trade access issues, and whether there are safe working conditions for crew on board the foreign vessels.

The other members of the panel are Broadcasting Commission chair Neil Walter and Sara McGrath, whose portfolio includes analysing the cost of managing the deepwater fisheries resource.

The panel is due to report back to the Government on 24 February 2012.