Final seafood migrant labour report makes 11 recommendations
The seafood workforce inquiry team provided the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries with its report on 29 October 2021. The report was released to the public on 15 December 2021.
There are 11 recommendations in the report. The core recommendation is to increase the certainty and predictability of migrant flows into the sector, in exchange for constraining the number of migrants employed, to incentivise firms to adapt the way they operate so they become more reliant on local workers.
Other recommendations involve migration, education and training, and process issues. The recommendations reflect the inquiry team's advice, and do not reflect any decisions by government.
- Establish a new seafood sector visa.
- Implement a sector-wide cap on migrant numbers.
- Introduce a permit-based system to operationalise the sector-wide cap and allocate the right to employ a migrant in parallel with the visa requirement.
Education and Training
- Government and industry work to encourage greater participation in the sector by promoting the training courses currently available and working to identify what gaps exist within these courses.
- Sector work with schools and education providers to increase awareness and knowledge of the sector.
- Government and industry investigate the viability of a dedicated training vessel to provide trainees with at sea experience.
Whole-of-government view of the sector
- Settle on a whole-of-government view of the future of the sector and promote that view broadly.
- The Crown to consult fully and in good faith with its Treaty partner as it considers these recommendations.
- The sector will undoubtedly develop and change over time – settings will need to be kept under review and adjusted to suit.
- Robust workforce data should be collected so that settings can be responsive to changing dynamics in the sector.
The Government will consider the recommendations before responding.
Reasons for the seafood workforce inquiry
COVID-19 border restrictions highlighted the seafood sector's vulnerability of its reliance on migrant labour. This sped up work across the industry and within government to increase the participation of New Zealanders in the sector.
The inquiry's objective was 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.
Scope of the inquiry
Commercial seafood sector activities covered in the scope of the inquiry were:
- deep-sea fishing
- inshore fishing
- aquaculture activities
- seafood processing.
The inquiry carried out a stock take of the current state of the sector workforce, determined what a more resilient seafood workforce could look like, and delivered recommendations to the minister on how best to achieve this transition.
Members of the seafood workforce inquiry team
The inquiry was independent of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and reported directly to the minister. The inquiry team held discussions with the sector to help develop and inform its report and recommendations.
The inquiry was 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 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 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.
SEAFOOD WORKFORCE INQUIRY TIMELINE
- 2 July: Inquiry started.
- 31 August: An interim inquiry report was presented to the minister signalling the probable direction of the inquiry and next steps.
- 30 September: A draft of the report is with sector stakeholders for feedback. The inquiry team is on track to provide the final report to the minister at the end of October.
- 29 October: The inquiry will present its final report to the minister.
- 15 December: Report published.
- TBC: Government will consider and respond to the report's recommendations.
Who to contact
The inquiry was supported by a secretariat provided by MPI. If you have any questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org