Aotearoa-New Zealand is an island nation dependent on trade to survive.
But because our coastal shipping was deregulated by the Government in the 1990's, we now rely on multinational shipping companies to carry our goods between our cities and beyond.
That's cost us local jobs and valuable skills, it's harming our climate by pushing more freight onto our roads, and it makes us vulnerable to the whims of a few huge shipping companies with no loyalty to New Zealand.
We need the government to protect and grow our coastal shipping and strengthen our shores just like the US, Canada, Japan, and EU governments do.
We've been promised real change that makes us stronger as a nation. Taking back control of our coastal shipping would be a good start.
To the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, Rt Hon Winston Peters, Hon James Shaw and Marama Davidson:
Each of you, independently, and together as a government, have said you want a stronger and more independent New Zealand. One meaningful way you can do this is to return control of our coastal shipping to New Zealand flagged vessels.
Protecting and growing our domestic shipping would mean more jobs, secure regional ports, less congestion on our roads, and greater national economic resilience.
We are an island nation solely dependent on international shipping to trade. Controlling our shipping industry helps us control our destiny as a nation rather than leaving us reliant on international companies with no stake in New Zealand's success.
We should control our own shipping industry again. It's a simple change. Just remove one short clause – s198(1)(c) – from the Maritime Transport Act and leave the carriage of domestic cargo to New Zealand flagged ships.
Please, do the right thing, change the law to ensure New Zealand flagged ships have a place in our waters again. Back good jobs, build our resilience, strengthen our shores.