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Slavelike conditions on fishing ships

The Editor, The Sunday Star-Times, Auckland

28 June, 2013

Dear Editor:

The letters of Frank Tilly and Gary Blair (23 June) rightly continue to put the spotlight on the fishing industry’s use of foreign flagged fishing vessels using low paid sailors subjected to abusive employment practices, even for Maori fishing quotas.  No matter who are the owners, the slave like employment practices affect all of them in political ways as well economic and moral.

Historically, exploitation of the environment, workers, and Maori has gone hand in hand in this country, as is typical in colonial countries.  This exploitation mentality has been and is a global problem leading today to the threats of climate change, imperialism and reaction to it.  Continuing use of slave-like fishing contracts by Maori fishing ventures will inevitably erode the moral high ground, and the possible positive influence on developing a new sustainable culture, of the Treaty.  In this environment iwi will see little benefit from Maori commercial ventures with only their elites joining pakeha elites in the current general trends of the rich getting richer, and the middle joining the poor getting poorer.

It is easy to see the influence of Maori Party support of the National Government in this process.  In effect the Maori Party sustains the government’s move toward more advantages for the elite.   In the larger flow of events, this makes it harder for New Zealand to shed its old exploitative character and move toward a sustainable future.

Sincerely,

Richard Keller

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