Any inquiry resulting from the Rena disaster must look at the impact that deregulation has had on New Zealand's coastal shipping, Green Party Oceans spokesperson Gareth Hughes said today.
In 1994 the Bolger National Government removed cabotage (the restricting of coastal shipping to New Zealand vessels).
"The Green Party considers coastal shipping to be an essential part of transporting goods around New Zealand," said Mr Hughes.
"This doesn't mean we consider everyone should have the right to operate in our waters.
"Deregulation opened the door to foreign vessels flying under flags of convenience - such as the Liberian flagged Rena - moving domestic freight around the country.
"Ships with flags of convenience often operate with below par labour standards, poor health and safety conditions, and have been implicated in far too many accidents leading to adverse effects on the environment.
"We consider it is far safer if trained domestic crews operate in New Zealand waters.
"Too often overstressed and under paid foreign crews are working our dangerous coastlines.
"Neither the current Key Government or the previous Labour administration have made any moves to change this situation," said Mr Hughes.
"It's time to improve New Zealand's shipping regulations and plan for a safer, better system of New Zealand operated coastal shipping."