The Green Party finds it bizarre that fish caught in New Zealand was being shipped to China for processing before the finished product was brought back to New Zealand for sale.
"News that Talleys Group Ltd ships gutted fish to China for thawing, processing and re-chilling, only to ship it back to New Zealand for sale undermines both the prime minister's goal of carbon neutrality and kiwi workers' jobs," Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said.
She believed the free trade deal New Zealand had signed with China, where wages were lower and workers did not have the same rights to organise as in New Zealand, would only lead to more "such bizarre situations".
Finance Minister Michael Cullen said fish exports to China did bear tariffs. Fish exports to China which were re-exported back to New Zealand did not.
Under the free trade agreement, fish exports to China would eventually not bear tariffs which was an improvement that was more likely to see fully processed fish exported to China.
Cabinet Minister Pete Hodgson, speaking on behalf of the fisheries minister, told Parliament today that virtually no seafood was exported from China whereas China made up about 10 per cent of New Zealand's export market.
"The overwhelming proportion of seafood consumed in New Zealand is processed in New Zealand. Fish that might be re-exported back to New Zealand is typically produced in a large scale processing plant supplying seafood to all markets around the world including New Zealand as one of those small destinations," he said.
The Green Party opposed the free trade deal with China.