Ministerial inquiry into New Zealand's seafood workforce

On 2 July 2021, the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries announced an independent ministerial inquiry into the use and allocation of migrant labour in the New Zealand seafood industry. Find out about the inquiry and its terms of reference.

Reasons for the seafood workforce inquiry

COVID-19 border restrictions highlighted the seafood sector's vulnerability of its reliance on migrant labour. This has sped up work across the industry and within government to increase the participation of New Zealanders in the sector.

The inquiry's objective is to provide recommendations on ways to:

  • reduce the sector's reliance on migrant labour
  • increase the number of New Zealanders working in rewarding seafood sector jobs.

Terms of reference for the seafood workforce inquiry [PDF, 101 KB]

Scope of the inquiry

Commercial seafood sector activities covered in the scope of the inquiry are:

  • deep-sea fishing
  • inshore fishing
  • aquaculture activities
  • seafood processing.

The inquiry will carry out a stocktake of the current state of the sector workforce, determine what a more resilient seafood workforce could look like, and deliver recommendations to the minister on how best to achieve this transition.

Help us collect workforce data

We are collecting workforce data to aid this inquiry. Your answers will help the inquiry panel to understand how much migrant labour the sector currently uses and why. It will also help ensure that the panel's final report is an accurate picture of labour use in the sector.

Template for employment data collection [XLSX, 49 KB]

Once you have completed the form, email it to

Your completed form needs to be sent to us by 20 August 2021.

Inquiry survey

A survey has been developed to give those interested in the Inquiry an opportunity to answer some high-level questions about the inquiry and provides employers with the opportunity to supply data on numbers of employees, roles, and the proportion that are migrants.

Members of the seafood workforce inquiry team

The inquiry is independent of MPI and will report directly to the minister. The inquiry team will hold discussions with the sector to help develop and inform its report and recommendations.

The inquiry will be led by Peter Wilson, supported by Julie Fry, and Greg Johansson.

Peter Wilson (Chair)

Peter is an experienced economist with a long-standing career, including several managerial roles, across the private and public sectors. He is a principal economist at the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER), and is also involved in providing support to the Productivity Commission's inquiry into immigration policy settings.

Julie Fry

Julie is an economist working as an Associate at the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER). She has worked as a consulting economist in the public sector, both in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Greg Johansson

Greg has an extensive background in the seafood sector, and currently runs his own consultancy, Johansson Seafood Consultancy Limited. He is the former general manager and chief operating officer of Sanford Ltd, and has a deep understanding of the seafood sector.


  • 2 July: Inquiry starts.
  • 31 August: An interim inquiry report will be presented to the minister signalling the probable direction of the inquiry and next steps.
  • 30 September: Draft report and recommendations will be issued for consultation with sector stakeholders, including Seafood New Zealand and Te Ohu Kaimoana.
  • 29 October: The inquiry will present its final report to the minister.

After the inquiry is finished

The Government will respond to the inquiry's recommendations in due course.

Who to contact

The inquiry is supported by a secretariat provided by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). If you have any questions, email

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