Saturday, April 09, 2011

Maori slavers?

Several years ago, Maori (rightly) proclaimed a report from the UN Rapporteur on Racism about the perfidious Pakeha.

Now we have to face the music on our own complicity in slave labour with the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking fingering Maori fishing quota as using slave labour in the joint venture fishing industry who are vulnerable to sinkings, drownings, industrial accidents, reports of violence and abuse, health and safety violations, ship jumpings, appalling work conditions and failures to honour employment and wage agreements.

Labour MP Shane Jones (a former chair of the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission), thinks some iwi are working through shady agents.

“I don’t think anyone, when we conceived and executed the Sealord fisheries settlement, ever imagined that Maori quota would be swooped upon and used by unscrupulous agents as a basis for enriching themselves but treating Ukranians and Asians as a form of slave labour and unless the iwi quota owners can hop on top of their days of flicking the quota on for a quick buck may be very well coming to an end.”

With relevant National Ministers (Kate Wilkinson, Minister of Labour, and Phil Heatley, Minister of Fisheries) denying any issues, it is a challenge to Maori leaders to accept there's an issue and act to remedy it as a matter of priority for the industry.

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Simon Lambert

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