Tuesday, May 22, 2012

National does a good thing for once

The government is banning foreign charter fishing vessels, requiring them to be reflagged in order to fish in New Zealand waters. Good. What's been allowed to go on on these ships - slavery, beatings, sexual abuse, unsafe working conditions - is an absolute scandal, which shames us all. We should not be allowing it to happen in New Zealand. And now, we won't.

But while this will prevent the problem from happening in future, there's still one aspect that needs to be dealt with. Slavery is a crime in New Zealand. Assault is a crime in New Zealand. Rape is a crime in New Zealand. Killing and maiming your workers is a crime in New Zealand. These crimes need to be punished. Those who ran the slave ships and those who hired them need to be held to account in the courts. Until we do that, the stain of this crime will remain.