• John Luxton
International Trade

Thank you for inviting me here today to the graduation of your second Fishing and Deckhand course.

The fishing industry is very important to the New Zealand economy and therefore New Zealand's economy to meet social goals. Last year the fishing industry exported over $1.2 billion worth of product. As the Minister of Fisheries it is my job to ensure that our valuable fishing resource is managed sustainably. It is also important that we have the skills, expertise and capital to realise that resource on a sustainable basis. This course which you are graduating today, is making a very valuable contribution towards that end.

I am a strong believer in upskilling people to enhance both their own personal situations and that of New Zealand.

I understand the graduates complete a five week course which includes one week at sea and covers safety and other key issues associated with the fishing industry.

I am particularly pleased that this course has been brought together with strong cooperation of the industry itself. With such strong input from industry it means that your coarse will be a very relevant one. Indeed I am informed that of the first intake of twenty, over 80% were in employment after they had completed the course.

So congratulations to those individuals who are graduating today. And also congratulations to those in the Trust and in the industry who have worked hard to pull this course together. I understand that there is no other training organisation in Lyttelton so well done on such a constructive effort.

Finally I would like to wish today's graduates well as they seek employment in one of New Zealand's most vibrant and skilled industries. And I am sure that this course will continue to provide a valuable contribution to the individuals who participate, the fishing industry, and ultimately New Zealand. Thank you