Human Rights at Sea continues to work closely with the New Zealand Government’s maritime agency, Maritime New Zealand, providing a consultative advisory opinion on the core structure and key requirements for the forthcoming state-led policy review on maritime levies and sustainable welfare funding models.

HRAS has been providing independent consultation and advice since the issue of the catalyst report in March 2020 alongside the New Zealand Seafarer Welfare Board: Under-Funding of Seafarers’ Welfare Services and Poor MLC Compliance.

The 2020 report contributed to the seminal update in New Zealand’s 1994 Maritime Transport Act, thereby setting an international legislative precedent for seafarer welfare.

The current opinion headline states: “Transparency, accountability, access to effective victim remedy and access to equitable welfare service provision without systemic abuse or nepotism must comprise the core foundations for implementing any future onshore seafarer welfare funding model in New Zealand.”

HRAS has counselled that the future model must, not should:

I. Be aligned with the legal guidance and intent of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006.

II. Be aligned with the accepted international policy standards in the establishment and running of Port Welfare Committees (PWCs).

Be made available to all seafarers, including fishers, both domestic and foreign.

IV. Be entirely transparent in its financial sourcing, application, daily running, public reporting, external auditing and oversight.

V. Be independently accountable to the New Zealand public for every $ spent, and that stakeholders in positions of decision-making, management and of funds must be both jointly and severable liable for all activities and decisions taken.

VI. Be equitable in the provision of seafarer and fisher access for all welfare services by the most competent providers, not the most financially dominant, nor prolific faith-based provider in any one [port] location.

VII. Be equitable for access to funds to all welfare providers based on a professional competence and effective delivery model that is annually assessed by an independent body with accredited government standing, and that the results (‘good, bad and ugly’) are published annually without any form of redaction or individual stakeholder influence or intervention. 

In terms of the scope of the delivery model, HRAS has additionally counselled that there must be a clear separation between the National Seafarer Welfare Board, Port Welfare Committees, and frontline welfare providers. Further, funding must be multi-year and neither be temporary nor emergency in its provision, as it currently stands.

Finally, there must be independent monitoring and oversight of funded stakeholders and conflicts of interest must be strictly avoided and transparently mitigated against.

HRAS continues driving forward its Maritime Levy Campaign to directly affect coastal start attitudes, policy and legislative positions to achieve long-term sustainable seafarer welfare funding underpinned by legislative assurance.

DOWNLOAD the full advisory opinion.

Related Content:

New Zealand: Under-Funding of Seafarers’ Welfare Services and Poor MLC Compliance – March 2020 [Updated]:

Counsel’s Opinion: New Zealand: Under-Funding of Seafarers’ Welfare Services and Poor MLC Compliance – 3 April 2020:

New Zealand Government to change maritime law to fund seafarer’s centres:

New Zealand Transport Minister updates HRAS on Seafarer welfare funding legislation:

New Zealand Government drives legislative change in support of Seafarers’ Centres:

Seafarers Welfare Board for New Zealand fully concurs with HRAS Report:

Impact of seafarers’ welfare maritime levy now evident in New Zealand, says Transport Minister:

In Force. New Zealand Amends Legislation to provide assured Seafarer Welfare funding:

Contact: Charlotte Rumbol, Communications Manager and Project Officer:

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