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Meet the wharfies and their families

Written By: - Date published: 11:50 am, January 15th, 2012 - 157 comments
Categories: class war, wages, workers' rights - Tags:

The Port of Auckland and its National Party allies would have you believe that the stevedores are monsters for not be willing to accept a 20% pay cut so that POA can try to undercut Port of Tauranga (where’s the ‘national interest’ in that, again?). But, let’s hear from these workers, and their families, as they struggle to protect their livelihood.

The following article was first posted on Stronger Together website. [It seems to have moved here.][and before some rightwing concern troll complains about kids being on the picket line, ask yourself who is the first to suffer it a parent’s pay is slashed]


Articles and photos by Simon Oosterman. Hi-res photos are available here. Please feel free to distribute.

The media have given plenty of space to Ports of Auckland management, but nobody has canvassed the opinions of those most affected by the company’s decisions, the workers. Here we get behind the news to the men, their wives and the children affected by the Ports of Auckland actions and proposals.

For the background to the dispute read the Maritime Union of New Zealand and Council of Trade Union fact sheet and the Port of Auckland’s industrial dispute updates

The Thorton family: “They want drones when we are actually parents”

FAIR ROSTERING: From the left – Max Thorton (5), Shaun (43), Nina (4), Amy (5), Leah (37) and Ben (9). Photo: Simon Oosterman

Shaun Thorton, 43, drives a straddle at the Ports of Auckland where he has worked for 18 years. He met his wife Leah at the port where she worked before becoming a fulltime mum looking after their four kids: Ben (9), twins Max and Amy (5) and Nina (4).

“We want predictability so we can have a family life,” he says. “We only get one weekend off every third weekend meaning I work 35 weekends in the year. I’m striking for the kids.”

Leah interrupts: “and for the marriage”.

“Shaun’s work is a nightmare for me and the kids,” she says. “Dad only went to two soccer games last year and couldn’t come to the preschool Christmas party. We’ve learnt to live with it but it’s far from perfect.”

“It’s clear from the ports casualisation plan that they want drones, when we are actually parents. You can’t sustain a family as a casual and deal with the everyday stuff parents have to put up with. One of our kids has a chronic illness and another is getting progressively deaf in one ear. I should be able to count on partner to help out with hospital visits and specialist’s visits.

“Everyone complains about irresponsible teenagers going out on town and they wonder where their parents are. They are here and in other unsociable jobs. The only other option to this work is working on the minimum wage.

“It astounds me that they are trying to increase productivity by ruining our work life balance – do they want people sleeping on the job?” she says. “Can I complain to the company about not having annual leave or sick days?”

The Wallace family: “It’s not just husbands affected, it’s our families too”

FAMILY TIME: From centre left – Mark Wallace, Ashley (9), Rebecca (7) and Katrina. Photo: Simon Oosterman

Mark Wallace is a stevedore at the Ports of Auckland. He worked his way up from a casual to a permanent crane driver over 18 years. Mark and wife Katrina have two children, Ashley (9) and Rebecca (7).

“I’m trying to protect my family life,” he says. “The company wants the right to tell me at midnight, eight hours before a shift, that I don’t have the shift anymore. How can I plan a family life around that?”

“The company goes on about caring for its employees, but they treat us like shit. We’ve given them the best container rates ever. If they really cared about us, we’d be inside working. We had to strike at Christmas just to get time off with our kids.”

Katrina, is a self-employed dress-maker who works from home.

“I brought the kids down to the picket show solidarity with my husband,” she says. “But it’s not just husbands affected, it’s our families too. The company’s proposed changes would be hard for me and the kids. I couldn’t take on huge jobs because I wouldn’t know day-to-day what Mark would be doing. I wouldn’t even be able to count on him to pick up the kids from school.”

The Witehira family: “Keeping family time is more important than a pay rise”

POWER TO THE FAMILY: Jermaine Witehira (31), Jayda (1), Karine (2), Gabrielle (5) and Destiny. Photo: Simon Oosterman

Jermaine Witehira, 31, got his first ever job at the Ports of Auckland where he has been working as a stevedore for 14 years. Jermaine and wife Destiny have three children, Gabrielle (5), Karine (2) and Jayda (1)

“I’m doing this for my family and my mates,” he says. “A 10% pay rise isn’t worth the new casual roster system – family time is more important than a pay rise.

“The company says we earn $91k a year – I‘ve never earned that in the 14 years I’ve been here. I get around $64k but I have to work 24 hours overtime and that costs my family.”

Destiny says Jermaine doesn’t see his kids because he leaves for work at 5:30am and gets back at 11:30pm.

“Being a young family is hard enough, but with his hours it feels like I’m a solo mum,” she says. “If the company gets what it wants I’ll have to put my kids in day care and get a job. The thing is that the job would probably only just cover day care costs and I’d have to find a job that worked around casual hours.”

Brandon Cherrington

FAMILY PICKET: Brandon Cherrington and his 1 1/2 year old daughter. Photo: Simon Oosterman

Brandon Cherrington, 38, has worked at the Ports of Auckland for 1½ years. He is a permanent part-timer and is only guaranteed 24 hours a week. Brandon has a 1½ year old daughter.

“This strike is all about our families,” he says. “We are here supporting the boys to keep and improve our conditions. With the company’s [proposed] new flexibility, they want us to be on call and I won’t be able to plan activities with my daughter anymore.”

Shaun Osbourne

JOB SECURITY: Casual worker Shaun Osbourne on the picket line. Photo: Simon Oosterman

Shaun Osbourne works at the Ports of Auckland. Because he is a casual employee, he hasn’t had a single guaranteed hour in the eight years he has worked there.

“My shifts are allocated the day before I go to work,’ he says. “I could get anywhere between eight and 48 hours a week which could be in the morning, afternoon or graveyard or a combination of the shifts. I won’t be crossing over. We’ve got to make sure permanent workers don’t end up like us casuals.”

Wayne Wolfe

FACTS: Wayne Wolfe has done his research. Photo: Simon Oosterman

Wayne Wolfe, 58, works as a stevedore at the Ports of Auckland. He has worked on the ports for 35 years. Wayne has three adult children and two grandchildren, including a two-week old baby. Wayne is an executive member of Local 13 of the Maritime Union.

“Many of these young fellas are casuals and have had busted up marriages because of their casualised hours,” he says. “When I first joined, conditions were brilliant and I am doing my best to leave it that way.”

Ron Bell

PICKET: Local 13 member Ron Bell (53). Photo: Simon Oosterman

Ron Bell, 53, is a stevedore at the Ports of Auckland. He will have worked on the waterfront for 31 years this coming April and has been union since he was 17. He has four daughters Jac (20), Katherine (18) and twins Samantha and Amanda (15). He is an executive member of Local 13 of the Maritime Union.

“I just want our guys to keep their jobs on decent hours and not get shat on waiting by the phone 24 hours a day,” he says. “People before us made our conditions what they are today and they should stay that way.”

Ken Ziegler

STAUNCH: Ken Ziegler standing tall. Photo: Simon Oosterman

Ken Ziegler, 49, has worked as a stevedore at the Ports of Auckland for 12 years. Ken is the main provider for his son Carlos (10). He is an executive member of Local 13 of the Maritime Union.

“It’s really simple,” he says. “The company is trying to casualise the entire workforce to keep labour costs down.”

Napo Kuru

SOLIDARITY: Casual Napo Kuru stands with permanent workers. Photo: Simon Oosterman

Napo Kuru, 27, has worked as a casual lasher at the Ports of Auckland for four years.

“I’m on $16 an hour as a casual and can get anywhere between 16 and 30 hours a week,” he says. “We have the same fight as the permanent boys. They want everyone to be cheap which will drive down everyone’s pay.”

157 comments on “Meet the wharfies and their families”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    Support the workers on FaceBook


    • muzza 1.1

      Nice one! – It never ceases to amaze me just how easily fooled so many people can be by BS. It also never ceases to amaze me how people can be so quick to pass judgment on others, or be so blinded that issues such as PoAL, will not impact on them directly. Yet these same types, who are fooled by BS, and pass judegment, will be the first people to look for sympathy/asssistance, when the very same issues the warfies face, are now staring THEM down!


    • Deborah Kean 1.2

      Support the workers on FaceBook


  2. Fantastic!

    This is what the public needs to see – the families of workers, so that all New Zealanders understand what this is about.

    If New Zealanders don’t support working men (and women), who put food on the tables for their families, then by the gods, there is no hope left for us as a nation!

    Lyn, et al: can I re-pub this entire piece on my Blog? (With full acknowledgement of course!)

  3. The Voice of Reason 3

    Big ups to Simon Oosterman!
    Its hard to underestimate the importance of getting stories like these out in out own media, because the Herald sure isn’t going to do it for us. Simon worked like a trojan late last year to publicise the CMP workers too and gained a lot of positive coverage in the local regional newspapers for those unionists and their families. Though that didn’t stop the Manawatu Standard, Feilding Herald and the Wanganui Chronicle regularly referring to the CMP lockout as a strike. Some things never change, eh?

  4. Ah, scrub that, Lyn. I just noticed the source and permission to distribute. Cheers!

  5. Jenny 5

    Matt McCarten: Come on, Mr Mayor

    On Thursday, the Ports and the union met in mediation. According to people in the room, the workers asked Gibson what would fix the problem. He made specific proposals on flexibility. The union agreed. The union thought it had an agreement. But Gibson came back and said he wanted more – although he didn’t specify what.
    He then released a press statement saying the talks were a waste of time and he was proceeding to sack the workers.

    On Friday, in a radio interview, he openly promoted selling the port, even though 80 per cent of Aucklanders want their cash cow kept in public hands.

    Matt McCarten, Herald on Sunday, January 15, 2012

    As Matt McCarten points out and the management have alluded too, this blatant union busting is a necessary prelude to privatisation of the Ports.

    Tony Gibson, on National Radio, Friday Morning Report, when asked why he felt it necessary to de-unionise the Ports, answered by mentioning his support for selling off the Ports.

    There has not been a peep about this from our ‘left’ Mayor.

    Is the Mayor signaling his support for the privatisation, supported by his manager?

    Is the Mayor’s silence, a nod and a wink to his manager, Tony Gibson to deunionise the Ports, as preparation for privatisation?

    If so, I would like to take this opportunity to remind the Mayor that the union busting by his manager at the Ports of Auckland is in contravention of Article 23.(4) of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    Article 23.(4)

    Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

    UN Declaration of Human Rights

    I might also like to remind the Mayor that he was elected on a left ticket to oppose privatisations. That a betrayal of this mandate will be to condemn Auckland to decades of Right Wing Cit.Rat. rule.

    • Gibson has no right to voice policy regarding privatisation. That is for Board Directors to do. He is crossing the line between governance and management.

    • queenstfarmer 5.2

      How has Article 23(4) been contravened? The Maritime Union exists, and people are free to join it.

      • That statement does you no credit, Qsf.

        • queenstfarmer

          Just asking a question Frank. Not seeking credit.

          • Colonial Viper

            qstf – are you reassuring us that all personnel on site at PoAL today and in the future will be supported by the port company to join MUNZ.

            • queenstfarmer

              How do you expect me to give assurances about such a thing? I just asked a simple question.

              However I would note that Article 23(4) doesn’t say that workers have the right to be actively supported by their employer (or anyone else) in forming and joining trade unions – just that they should have the right. And FWIW (considering it isn’t law) I totally agree with Article 23(4).

              • Colonial Viper

                But you are saying that PoAL management will not discourage (directly or indirectly) anyone on their site from being a MUNZ member?

                Regardless of whether or not they are an employee, contractor, or sub-contractor?

                If that’s the case why is PoAL desperate to break the unions at any cost?

                • queenstfarmer

                  Again I don’t know what either the Port or the union will do, or what their motives are. The question I raised was how had the UDHR had allegedly been breached.

      • Jenny 5.2.2

        “How has Article 23(4) been contravened? The Maritime Union exists, and people are free to join it.”

        15 January 2012 at 3:5 pm

        What is the point of joining the Watersiders Union if you no longer work on the wharf?

        Haven’t you heard, Queenie, all the unionists are being made redundant and replaced with contractors.

        What part of this simple fact, don’t you understand?

        • queenstfarmer

          I never disputed those facts. My question to you was how was Article 23(4) breached. It is a very brief section, and it doesn’t say that everyone has the right to not be made redundant, does it?

          • Colonial Viper

            Wrong question. The question is: what actions has PoA taken to ensure that Article 23(4) is in fact supported on their site.

            Given that it is the express wish of PoA to break the union no matter the cost, the answer is likely to be: fuck all.

            • queenstfarmer

              But that is misguided, because who says they, or anyone else, has to “support” a union, or the right the be in a union? It doesn’t. Some people are pro-union, others are anti, others are ambivalent. Even unions have wildly differing views whether certain actions help or hinder – look at the 1951 strike, where the wharfies union was opposed by most other unions (nor backed by the Labour Party, rather like the present situation). That is the whole point of rights – they exist regardless of other people’s views.

              Given that it is the express wish of PoA to break the union no matter the cost…

              Express wish? I have only seen accusations, but now you say they have expressly said this – where?

              • Colonial Viper

                They’ve expressly said it in their Board meetings. I bet 🙂

                And its not misguided. Either PoA as an organisation believes in the Article and in upholding it, or it does not.

                So which is it? If we were to go by its actions – it does not.

                • queenstfarmer

                  OK so you don’t have any evidence that they expressly said they want to break the union no matter the cost. As I said, I was aware that some people had made that allegation, I and I thought based on your comment it may have been substantiated. Seems not.

      • Jenny 5.2.3

        I have a question for you Queenie.

        What do mean by the statement “The Maritime Union exists, and people are free to join it.”

        As opposed to what, Queenie? The union being banned and the unionists murdered?

        No they are just being sacked for belonging to the union.

        To answer your question “How has Article 23(4) been contravened?” Sacking unionists is the most common way of depriving workers of their human right to join a union.

        Apart from the extreme methods of banning and murdering trade unionists, and the less extreme but more common method of sacking them. What other ways are there, to contravene working people’s Human Right to belong to a union, as set out in the UN Universal Declaration of Human rights?

        I would be genuinely interested to see what your twisted imagination could come up with.

        Of course, you won’t come back with any answer, because there isn’t one.

        But still, I would like to see you try.

        • queenstfarmer

          To answer your question “How has Article 23(4) been contravened?” Sacking unionists is the most common way of depriving workers of their human right to join a union.

          That’s plainly incorrect. There is nothing preventing people from forming a union with whatever (lawful) rules they want. That is what Article 23(4) provides. Whether the union is successful, viable, well managed, popular, effective, etc, are separate questions that have nothing to do with the UDHR.

          And I must say I find it somewhat amusing that you think I have a “twisted imagination” for simply asking a question and stating facts, yet then proceed to talk about murdering unionists.

          • Frank Macskasy

            You’re engaging in sophistry.

            Can’t be bothered.

            Playing with other peoples’ livelihoods is not a game I do well. Play it by yourself.

            The rest of us know what you’re doing.

          • Colonial Viper

            qstf thinks its fine if the wharfies join a toothless patsy union which poses no risk to management or the board’s plans to privatise PoA.

          • Colonial Viper

            Hey qstf you reckon PoA supports union activity on its grounds which is geared towards workers taking a larger % share of port revenues?

            • queenstfarmer

              How would I know what PoA thinks? What I do know is that PoA is under no obligation to “support union activity”, any more than you or I are.

              • Colonial Viper

                Hey if PoA decided that they could make a quick buck by smashing the union, which would synergistically also ease the way to privatising the Port, do you reckon they would choose to go ahead with smashing the union?

          • Jenny

            Twisted is right.

            So Queenie if I understand you right. There is nothing preventing workers joining a union as long as they don’t do it at work.

            You certainly are a twisted sister.

            My question for you Queenie; Why would anyone join a union if it has nothing to do with their workplace?

            No matter how viable, well managed, popular, etc, would it even be a union?

            It might be a knitting circle, but it wouldn’t be a union.

            As for my talk about murdering unionists. I take your point that that may have been over the top, but you can’t ignore that it does happen in some countries.

            The reason I mentioned this was, in response to your claim that making workers redundant because they were in a union is not a breach article 23(4). And I was scratching my head wondering what you think might be considered a breach.

            You still haven’t explained yourself.

            • queenstfarmer

              So Queenie if I understand you right. There is nothing preventing workers joining a union as long as they don’t do it at work.

              What? Where on earth did I say that? That sort of thing is covered in great detail by NZ’s employment laws (unlike the UDHR that you raised, which is not part of NZ law).

              My question for you Queenie; Why would anyone join a union if it has nothing to do with their workplace?

              Why don’t you ask the Unite Union – they welcome unemployed people joining.

              And I was scratching my head wondering what you think might be considered a breach.

              1. Preventing the formation of a trade union
              2. Preventing someone from joining a trade union.

              Neither of those things are present here. Again, refusing to deal with a particular union, or accede to union demands, or roll out the red carpet for a union, or allow the union victory in industrial disputes, is not contained in Article 23(4).

              • Jenny

                Let’s break it down for you Queenie.

                1/The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights stipulates that it everyone’s right to belong to a union.

                2/ Actions taken by an employer, (or council body for that matter), that would make membership of a union detrimental, ie. dismissal for being in a union, would be a breach of Article 23(4)

                • queenstfarmer

                  1 = right, 2 = wrong. It simply does not say that. You obviously want it to say that, but it doesn’t.

              • Jenny

                1. Preventing the formation of a trade union
                2. Preventing someone from joining a trade union.

                Neither of those things are present here. Again, refusing to deal with a particular union, or accede to union demands, or roll out the red carpet for a union, or allow the union victory in industrial disputes, is not contained in Article 23(4).


                Hey Queenie, you missed one.

                3. Dismissing someone for being in a union.

                There, fixed it for you.

                • queenstfarmer

                  Yes “fixed” it by inventing words that are not actually in Article 23(4). Gosh, I could “fix” a lot of things using that technique!

                  • Jenny

                    You must be frothing at the mouth by now Queenie’.

                    In fact I am surprised you can still type.

                    Your latest comment shows that you are becoming unhinged.

                    This is what article 23(4) of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights says:

                    Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

                    To which you commented:

                    “1. Preventing the formation of a trade union 2. Preventing someone from joining a trade union. Neither of those things are present here.”

                    To complete to your list I added:

                    “3. Dismissing someone for being in a union”

                    To which you accused me of:

                    “…inventing words that are not actually in Article 23(4).”

                    Surely, you can see, that I was completing your list. (In fact I put a number in to make it clear.)

                    If you read your own comment carefully, you might notice that the words in your incomplete list are, “not actually in Article 23(4)”, either.

                    What is wrong with you?

                    Is this the best you can do?

                    Aren’t you worried that your anti-union bigotry, is causing you to lose your power to reason?

                    • queenstfarmer

                      You must be frothing at the mouth by now Queenie’. In fact I am surprised you can still type.

                      I imagine you are surprised about a great many things each day. As for me, I’m as happy as Larry.

                      If you read your own comment carefully, you might notice that the words in your incomplete list are, “not actually in Article 23(4)”, either.

                      Hmm, not following that. We can all see what a23(4) says, and we can all see that it does not say what you are incorrectly claiming it does.

                      Aren’t you worried that your anti-union bigotry, is causing you to lose your power to reason?

                      What anti-union statement have I ever made? Name one. My contributions on this thread have been limited to correcting your errors.

              • Jenny

                (the UDHR that you raised, which is not part of NZ law)


                Now we are drilling down to it, aren’t we Queenie?

                Shamefully, (As you have helpfully pointed out, here), New Zealand has never ratified the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

                A situation you are obviously quite happy with.

                And I never claimed, that the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights was part of New Zealand law. To our shame, it is not.

                All I claimed, was that this was a breach of Article 23(4) of the UN declaration. Which you denied.

                Queeny, despite all your sophistry, by mentioning the fact that New Zealand is not a signatory, though you try to qualify this fact by putting it in brackets, is, at the very least, a partial admission by you, that the Ports Of Auckland, are in breach of Article 23(4) of the UN Declaration of Human rights.

                We have been talking at cross purposes.

                Your argument is that New Zealand employers have the legal right to lay off trade unionists. I have never disputed that.

                My argument is that workers have the moral right to oppose such lay offs.

                Queeny you are giving up the moral high ground by admitting that the UN Declaration of Human Rights has never been ratified by New Zealand. Instead switching, to argue legalities, and employer rights. In this new line of argument you are making the case for force and power. “We have the power, so we have the right.”

                As I said, ‘Now we are drilling down to it.’

                No doubt you would also argue that the full weight of the state should be called on to enforce this employer “right”.

                You may argue, New Zealand employers have the legal right to dismiss unionists, but the UN Declaration of Human Rights makes it clear that employers don’t have the moral right to dismiss unionists. Conversely workers have the moral right to resist.

                The Maritime workers may not have the legal right, but they have the moral right to oppose union busting by the Ports of Auckland. And they will do so vigorously. This follows a long tradition. Everywhere in all countries, workers have fought efforts by employers to rid their workplace of unions, even in the face police batons and arrest, indeed in some countries, even in the face of gunfire and murder.

                • Well said, Jenny, well said.

                • Campbell Larsen

                  +1 Jenny

                • queenstfarmer

                  Shamefully, (As you have helpfully pointed out, here), New Zealand has never ratified the UN Declaration of Human Rights. A situation you are obviously quite happy with.

                  Wrong – why would I be happy with that? You are jumping to some bizzare conclusions that make me question your motives.

                  Queeny, despite all your sophistry

                  What sophistry? One specific example please.

                  by mentioning the fact that New Zealand is not a signatory, though you try to qualify this fact by putting it in brackets, is, at the very least, a partial admission by you, that the Ports Of Auckland, are in breach of Article 23(4) of the UN Declaration of Human rights.

                  Wrong again. There is no breach whatsoever of Article 23(4). It is, frankly, a ludicrous claim that you are making.

                  My argument is that workers have the moral right to oppose such lay offs.

                  I totally agree.

                  No doubt you would also argue that the full weight of the state should be called on to enforce this employer “right”.

                  Wrong again – what strange claims you are making. The state should not intervene in a private employment dispute. If there are issues of law involved, that is for the parties and court system to resolve.

                  You may argue, New Zealand employers have the legal right to dismiss unionists

                  Wrong x 4. I never said that at all. In fact, a claimed “right” to dismiss someone simply for being in a union would almost certainly be unlawful. I can see how you have ended up getting the wrong end of the stick re UDHR.

                  • RedLogix

                    Wrong again. There is no breach whatsoever of Article 23(4). It is, frankly, a ludicrous claim that you are making.

                    There is no point in joining a trade union if it means you cannot be employed. Your argument simply reduces a union to an effective nullity.

                    Like if being a member of a Bar Association meant that you could not appear in Court.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      qstf is very smart at being deliberately dumb.

                    • queenstfarmer

                      There is no point in joining a trade union if it means you cannot be employed

                      But no one is saying that (except you). In fact not even the union alleges that – do you think that if the union had an iota of evidence of such a thing, that they wouldn’t have gone straight to court?

                      If it does get to court it will be about good faith bargaining. Not some unlawful anti-union conspiracy.

                    • mik e

                      QSF for a high flyer there’s not much difference the golden parachute is always there but for workers redundancies these days is only a few months pay.
                      If you are sacked your more likely to end up with a larger payout unless its inside ninety days.
                      But you and your elite buddies don’t give a !
                      Buffet is right the rich have won!
                      Now we have Narcissistic Idiots like yourself playing mind games on this blog just rubbing it in.

                  • Jenny

                    In fact, a claimed “right” to dismiss someone simply for being in a union would almost certainly be unlawful.


                    Oh excuuze me, of course they are not being sacked for being in the union.

                    They are being made “redundant” to be replaced with non-union contractor companies.

                    A rose by any other….etc. etc.

                    Just as the Port Company continues to “negotiate in good faith with the union” while laying off all their members.

                    I am sure it is all legally nice and tidy.

                    • queenstfarmer

                      If you don’t understand the difference between redundancy and being sacked, then I suggest you go and learn about it – I’m sure the union staff will be happy to help.

                  • Jenny

                    Here is a nice of piece of sophistry as I have ever seen.

                    Haven’t you heard, Queenie, all the unionists are being made redundant and replaced with contractors.

                    What part of this simple fact, don’t you understand?

                    15 January 2012 at 11:59 pm

                    I never disputed those facts. My question to you was how was Article 23(4) breached. It is a very brief section, and it doesn’t say that everyone has the right to not be made redundant, does it?

                    Queenie, how do you square your above statement with your latest statement?

                    Please amuse us all, by explaining.

                    You may argue, New Zealand employers have the legal right to dismiss unionists

                    Wrong x 4. I never said that at all. In fact, a claimed “right” to dismiss someone simply for being in a union would almost certainly be unlawful. I can see how you have ended up getting the wrong end of the stick re UDHR.

                    • queenstfarmer

                      They square perfectly, like all my statements:

                      1. There is no “right” not to be made redundant. Fact.

                      2. Employers do not have the right to dismiss someone simply for being in a union (barring some special situations, like I think the armed forces can’t unionise). Fact.

                      What do you find so difficult about those two simple propositions?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      qstf so clever yet so pointless. Why don’t you do something helpful with your god given talents.

                  • Jenny

                    They square perfectly, like all my statements:

                    1. There is no “right” not to be made redundant. Fact.

                    2. Employers do not have the right to dismiss someone simply for being in a union (barring some special situations, like I think the armed forces can’t unionise). Fact.


                    Of course you are right Queenie. As you say, it is illegal to dismiss workers for being in a union.

                    But it is perfectly legal to make workers redundant for being in a union. A fact that the Employers and Manufactures Association have taken full advantage of for many years.

                    Trouble with unionists at your factory, for God’s sake man don’t do anything rash like dismissing them, you will get hit with a personal grievance for wrongful dismissal.

                    Make them redundant instead.

  6. just saying 6

    Just talked to the old man in Auckland.

    At Christmas he was contemptuous of the watersiders – thought they wre overpaid and underemployed. Bought the spin 100%.
    Between then and now he has changed his mind and completely agreed with me about supporting the strike. The truth is getting out despite the best efforts of powerful vested interests.

    Keep up the good work everybody. The old man voted conservative because National wasn’t conservative enough. If you can win him over you’re more than halfway there.

    Kia kaha

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      if the conservatives had taken a few seats off National, asset sales would also be off the agenda. As would farm sales overseas.

  7. james 111 7

    Would be good to show the workers families from POT , and see how its working out for them. Things may not be as bad as believed

    IrishBill: Would be good if you had some other trick than moronic misdirection. If I see you misdirect one more time I may just ban you.

    • The Voice of Reason 7.1

      Well, piss off down there with a camera and a notepad. It’d be a more constructive use of your time than hanging round here getting your arse handed to you every few minutes.

    • Colonial Viper 7.2

      james 111 you asked your boss for a pay cut and offered to be on permanent standby through all your weekends for free, yet?

      • muzza 7.2.1

        CV – Given James’ staunch position, inability to reconcile even basic numbers, and logic together, coupled to a certainty that the union will be broken, and that “casualisation, will happen” –
        I would say that there are two options..

        1: He is a paid troll!
        2: He is a complete fuckwit!
        3: He is a complete fuckwit!
        4: He is a complete fuckwit!

        • mik e

          Jturd sounds like big bruv.Just wind him up and out comes the dogma.
          Rod Oram says the labour costs aren’t the problem at NZ port but the price gouging shipping companies sunday star times.

        • Frank Macskasy

          James, you seem to have little to contribute and your motivation in spending vast quantities of your time deriding the maritime workers is unknown.

          But I will say this: your words motivate me to do more for the striking workers. I will spend whatever time I have to help them, in my own small way.

          For this, I think you. And keep posting – I need that constant reminder why we are fighting, and for what.

          Thank you. (And I mean that .)

        • james 111

          [Deleted. ..RL]

          What is it with the standard as soon as you get some one who thinks differently to you (you automatically pull out the conspiracy headline)
          Cast your mind back to Thursday The Standard claimed Cameron Slater was being paid to put info against the Union on his blog.
          This was totally blown out of the water by Catherine Etheridge who said it was a lie. The Standard then retracted that comment.
          Next they accused Cactus Kate being in with managment because she had all the Salary figures so the Company must be providing her with them. It turns out she just asked for them LOL ,and they gave them to her for Pharks Sake you guys see a conspiracy around every corner.
          Not everyone thinks that everything you say or the union says is correct. That is why we have a democracy not a dictatorship..
          I just dont buy the Union line totally on this topic. I also believe that the company managment should not be getting any Salary increases whilst they are asking others to go through pain. Trying to be pragmatic rather than emotional and looking through blnkered glasses

          • mik e

            yes big bruv aka jturd.Normally any one trying to get info like that would be told of privacy concern or that this information is financially sensitive!
            But beacuase its the workers info the suckulent with many prickles being a Neo liberal propagandist gets info dished up with its own covering spin Jturd.

          • muzza

            James I have been boo’d from this site a number of time for the things I say, as I am neither right nor left…your comment about Len Brown is childish, its not somehing relevant to the issue, not do I give a fuck what the papers claim LB says.If I want to know that I will ask him myself!

            The main gripe, has been around tansparency, and my big issue is that when the truth become optional, people are robbed of the ability to decided for themselves, as any opinion they form, are not their own, and the demoracy you refer, becomes a SHAM!

            For me that is simply not good enough, and to anyone who regards themselves as half way decent, then the truth is something that should be defended and demanded at all costs, because to accept spin and BS as normal, is to accept your life as a lie!.

            I can tell you 100% that on this issue, you are incorrect to use your info as an argument, or the soureces you quote as being correct. Sadly I suspect by the time it comes out in the wash , NZ workers may have lost yet another battle because of lies!

            Hows those “flexible” decreasing rates of yours looking !

          • Frank Macskasy

            C’mon, James, let’s get a little real here, shall we?

            Whether or not Slater or Odgers is being “paid” is irrelevant. The point of the matter is the secret, back-room dealings that are currently taking place and I’m sure various players are doing their bit in all this.

            Call it a “conspiracy” if you like. I prefer “agenda” – as the leaked documents hinted at. It is quite apparent that Gibson had no intention of negotiating with the Union – as above, and previous statements show. In fact, his (and others) minds were already set as to what they wanted. Hence the term “agenda”.

            Not everyone thinks that everything you say or the union says is correct.

            Now that’s interesting, James. The Union’s fact-sheet thus far has not been challenged as being factually incorrect.

            If you have examples, feel free to post them.

            • Colonial Viper

              Call it a “conspiracy” if you like.

              Who would’ve thought that wealthy, influential players might occasionally get together privately to jointly work plans designed to obtain financial advantage for themselves.

              Gasp! A “conspiracy”!

              • Who would’ve thought that wealthy, influential players might occasionally get together privately to jointly work plans designed to obtain financial advantage for themselves.

                Famously, Adam Smith did. From Book I of Wealth of Nations:

                People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.” 

                • Colonial Viper

                  I bet you if Gibson successfully breaks the union at PoA he soon thereafter leaves and gets a global executive position with Maersk.

                  Its a fucking set up.

              • Jum

                Colonial Viper,

                ‘Who would’ve thought that wealthy, influential players might occasionally get together privately to jointly work plans designed to obtain financial advantage for themselves.’

                It’s exactly what will occur with the 49% shareholding of our energy companies.

  8. Jenny 8

    james 111
    15 January 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Would be good to show the workers families from POT , and see how its working out for them. Things may not be as bad as believed.

    James, yes, a good idea.

    Here’s an even better one:

    Before, and after, interviews with the Tauranga workers and their families.

    Now: Before the Auckland union is crushed and when the Port workers are not in direct competition with each other because the unionists are able to hold the line.

    And After: When Auckland has been de-unionised for a period, and the Tauranga port workers are in vicious downward spiral of direct competition between themselves and Auckland.

    • james 111 8.1

      Reading the POT report on line I see they are A employer of choice in Tauranga that many of their workers have been there over 10 years. That their staff turn over rate is very low. That they have reduced accidents by 67%
      Obviously they are doing alot right dont seem to be to many disgruntled workers. Perhaps they understood they had to change, and have accepted it.
      Did the Union fight the POT changes to when they happened? Obviously they didnt win the battle

      • KJT 8.1.1

        Talking to Tauranga wharfies, They are not happy with their rosters, but as we all know jobs are a bit thin on the ground in the BOP so they do not have a lot of choices.

        They also know that if MUNZ caves in Auckland the next to get hit to lower their costs/wages will be Tauranga.

        Tauranga has always had private contractor stevedoring companies. At least for the 40 years I can remember.

        • james 111

          Thanks for answering that question KJT
          How many unionised wharves are left in New Zealand versus Private contractors. Obviously Auckland is one.

          • KJT

            The private stevedores are mostly Unionised.

            I would say at an educated guess that around 80% of NZ wharfies belong to a Union.

  9. Blue 9

    The Ports of Auckland dispute and the Crafar farms issue both go to show just how fucking useless our mainstream media outlets are.

    If they were any sort of fourth estate, they would have done this story themselves. They would have these two issues as front page news, not buried somewhere way down in the business section.

    I think it’s come to the point where the media in this country is utterly fucked and something needs to be done. The immense power that the media has to draw attention to important issues is being wasted on crap.

    Thank god the Standard is still here and operating. Whoever the doofus was who said this is the worst news coverage was totally wrong. People read newspapers and watch the TV news to find out what is going on in the country. But if you don’t read the Standard, you don’t know what is going on.

    The media won’t tell you.

    • Jackal 9.1


      There hasn’t been a MSM story on climate change for ages. Every time there’s a story on Rena the interview is done on a clean beach, when in reality there’s oil washing up and heaps of debris all over East Coast beaches at the moment with new reports of dead oiled penguins… but nothing on the MSM. Instead of reports about the growing US Iran tension, we have stories about the yanks are rescuing people.

      The lack of any proper coverage of hugely important events is an insult to most people’s intelligence.

      Tonight TV3 had around four minutes advertising a dumb movie before it reported on the increased amount of drowning and other far more important topics. There is no real investigative News reporting anymore in New Zealand, the MSM just regurgitate overseas trivia and toe the corporate line. Unfortunately it looks likely to get a lot worse.

      The intentional dumbing down of society with endless mind-numbing repeats and propaganda has a huge detrimental effect by keeping people in the dark about what is really going on. Knowledge is power and a lack of knowledge will leave the public powerless and the world ruined. The dribs and drabs of real information the MSM provide are tainted with spin and misinformation… and as we all know, a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.

      There is but one good outcome from the situation… it drives people with enough gumption to search out the truth towards great articles like the one above. POAL and their lackeys have been doing their best to dehumanise the wharfies to try and gain public support for their detrimental agenda… lying to create jealousy perhaps their worst tactic. Showing what the score is will speak great volumes to people’s humanity.

      Thanks to The Standard and other sites creating an equal playing field within the blogosphere, the public has an opportunity to learn the truth… (Warning: proverb overdose) and the truth will set you free.

  10. The word is getting out;


    And Chris Trotter had some VERY interesting suggestions on how Occupy NZ could assist what is now a full-blown war between workers and the right wing;


    • Jenny 10.1

      Frank, you have beaten me to it.

      This post is so good, that I think that ‘The Standard’ need to guest post it straight away.

      If the New Zealand Left fails to launch a counter-offensive against the, to date, highly successful campaign by the Right to break the Maritime Union and set the scene for the privatisation of the Ports of Auckland, then it will sustain a significant, perhaps historic, strategic defeat.

      Chris Trotter, Friday, January 13, 2012

      Read the full post, here.

    • Trotter didnt make this suggestion it came from Occupy Auckland more than a month ago when the first strike and lockout took place. OA has marched down to the picket on several occasions to show solidarity between OA and MUNZ. More than that OA has been holding educationals one of which was on the 1951 lockout. Go to the Occupy Auckland facebook page. But Trotter wouldnt know this as he thinks that they are just kids in pup tents – patronising old Labour fart.

      On the significance of Occupy joining forces with unions read this:

      • Jenny 10.2.1

        Who cares who thought of this first?

        One of the great weaknesses of the left is our sectarianism.

        Get over it.

        Chris is giving a good lead, I welcome his support.

        You should too.

        • Jackal

          A sectarianism Trotter sometimes promotes.

          • RedLogix

            No… Jenny is correct. The strength of the left is it’s diversity; while it’s weakness at the same time.

            The right exploits this all the time; we hand them one pathetic victory after another on a plate because we keep letting our fucking overwheening egos get in the way. In that sense James111 is correct; we can logically win every single point in the intellectual debate; but if we lose the emotional battle for the hearts then it means nothing.

            Personalities are not important; the ideas, the motivation and the actions are.

            • Jackal

              You’re talking about tolerance of ideas, something I’ve been guilty at times of not having enough of. Diversity is more beneficial when friends are identified from foes properly. It’s not the diversity that is the problem so much as an inability to differentiate between normal people and the exploiters.

              One difference is that the right rewards egotism, while the left doesn’t. Whether this is an overall weakness or strength is difficult to say, but diversity can only be beneficial when tolerance is in play, and vice versa. That’s perhaps why the right often promote intolerance.

              A lack of personalities within a diverse organisation can result in a lack of leadership. Ideas can only lead to group motivation if there’s leadership capable of expressing ideas to the organisation in a way that will cause action.

              To achieve this, certain egoism traits and altruism are required in an effective leader. I think Shearer and other’s on the left display these good traits, which are far more appealing than the blatant in your face egotism of Key & co.

              • RedLogix

                Yes, the quality of leadership is critical…. no quibble there. But then at that point when an effective leader appears and the left is just about to gets it’s ass into gear and do something, with all it’s passion and love of ideas, every second dude and his dog sticks his leg up and says, “Hey, I’ve got a better way to do it”.

                The crucial point is that at there is a moment when the talking stops, where the diversity of ideas is put on hold … and there is unity of action. It almost doesn’t matter what action, as long as everyone backs it, commits to making it work.

                Because if it works, if it’s successful or not, then we know the merits of the plan on it’s own terms. We can learn from that and build on it.

                But if there isn’t any unity of action, if the idea fails not because it was a lousy idea, but because of the bickering, division and lack of support… then you never learn whether it was a good idea, or just badly implemented.. That takes you nowhere, and burns everyone off.

                And that sadly is where the authoritarian’s and fundamentalists always have an edge; they impose intolerance of thought AND by this means impose unity of action. It almost doesn’t matter that their thinking is regressive and damaging…collective action always trumps individualistic inaction.

                • Jackal

                  I think it’s a problem time will largely solve. Once the left become more accepting of group diversity and leadership, the focus will change onto what the right is doing wrong.

                  Intolerance of diversity and egotism will hopefully be replaced with unity and action towards a common goal. If unity is built on ideas… we shouldn’t have any trouble finding them. The ability of leadership to express those ideas to gain unity hinges on good ideas being promoted.

                  The problem is that when society worsens and life gets tough, people naturally become less tolerant and quick to dismiss new ideas. I think you’ve found the main failing; by promoting hardship and intolerance, especially amongst those not sharing their capitalist ideals, the right has found a political edge (that’s unfortunately also detrimental to society). However the Achilles heel is that it relies on the dynamic being kept largely secret.

                  What we need to do is shine a light on the decisions that lead to the destructive dynamic, reduce the effect of their promotion of intolerance and increase confidence in the ideas being promoted by providing compelling evidence… not to say your aren’t doing these things already 🙂

        • dave brownz

          Thanks but I care…
          The point is not who ‘thought of it first’ but who did what about it for the last 6 weeks! Far from being isolated from Occupy overseas OANZ was in constant touch with Occupy Oakland’s brave general strike and support for the ILWU, the MUNZ ally on the West Coast. So Occupy was well ahead of Trotter on this question.
          Occupy Auckland was out of their pup tents and marching down to the port on December 1st at which point I doubt Trotter had woken up to the MUNZ dispute.
          What’s sectarian in pointing this out?

          • Colonial Viper

            In fact i would suggest that its crucial to point this out. Not from an “ego” point of view but in terms of spurring the Left to always do things better, faster and more imaginatively.

            Competitive co-operation is an ideal model in many circumstances and taps into many human motivations around pride and recognition which can be harnessed positively.

          • Jenny

            Dave. The question is this, would you welcome Chris Trotter as a friend, if he turned up on the Picket line? Yes, or no.

            • Frank Macskasy

              Me, personally? I’d lock arms with Winston Peters on one side and John Key on the other, on a picket line, in defence of the maritime workers.

              But I fear I have more chance of winning Lotto. Or being abducted by Gray aliens.

              • Colonial Viper

                Winston will NOT support the privatisation of PoA.

                Len Brown is looking like a disappointment at the moment. The Left has very few heroes remaining.

            • dave brownz

              Of course, but that was never the question. A united front was never in question.
              In united front we can to lock arms with the devil or his grandmother.
              The question was who is Trotter to tell Occupy Auckland what they should do when they have been doing it for 6 weeks?
              Ive been down to the picket, Occupy has been down to the picket, if I’m standing next to Trotter when the fight gets nasty, then I’ll certainly lock arms with him. That’ll be a good opportunity to tell him to wake up.

  11. Campbell Larsen 11

    Shame on Russel Blackstock of the HoS – his idea of hard hitting journalism is quoting the age of Tony Gibson against his wishes…..
    When he is not asking the hard questions and revealing the shocking truth of Tonys age he miraculously morphs into spokesperson for ‘more and more of the business community’ whose ‘unspoken’ view is ‘it’s time to smash the union’
    What a hack.

  12. KJT 12

    I wonder if the RWNJ’s on here can do division..

    Auckland TEU 2011 year 894 383. Labour costs 51.9 million.

    Tauranga TEU 2011 year. 590 506. Labour costs 59.1 million.

    Tauranga has more break bulk cargo so they are not exactly equivalent.

    But, simple division shows that the contractor model is more expensive per TEU..
    Labour is paid less in Tauranga, but it looks like the difference is more than made up for by contractors overheads and profits.

    Numbers from the ports websites.

    Auckland Labour is CHEAPER per TEU (20 ft equivalent container) than Tauranga, already.

    Tauranga wharfies are watching Auckland with trepidation. They know that their, already lower, wages will be reduced still further if Auckland drops their costs.

    Mearsk are being allowed to ratchet down port charges in all NZ ports while ports keep making, duplicated, capital investments to attract them. While the oligopoly of overseas shipping lines charges double the freight from NZ than they do from Sydney.

    This is totally against the best interests of the country as a whole. And a direct result of fake competition, due to Neo-Liberal religious faith, between ports

    • james 111 12.1

      Do you believe that the Auckland rate payer should be happy with a 2.1% return on POA $848 million in 2005.

      ie in 2005 they paid $848 million they are earning $17.8 million per year. This does not cover interest,and doesnt even keep up with inflation. It is one sick company that needs to restructure in more than one area so that Auckland Rate payers get a fair return.


      • KJT 12.1.1

        Considering we have just had a recession and what it has done to port returns worldwide, Aucklands return on capital is good.

        Labour productivity in NZ ports has increased out of sight in recent years.

        Management has become noticeably poorer with the change, in most ports, from those who grew up in the industry, to jumped up accountants.

        The main problem is the management costs and borrowing costs compared to Tauranga.
        Auckland borrowed to pay dividends while Tauranga was borrowing for expanding the terminal.

        I think I have already conclusively shown that labour costs per TEU is not Auckland’s problem.

        Cutting Labour costs lets Auckland’s managers avoid the real problem. Their own lack of management skills. Of course managers who advocate privatisation are not highly motivated to make a publicly owned company look good. There would then be no room for them to say they have made it work better when privatised.

        The main problem in Auckland is confrontational and inefficient management who are working, like the SOE power company managers, for privatisation so they can get higher pay and share options against the best interests of the ports owners. The people of NZ.

      • muzza 12.1.2

        As an Auckland Tax Payer – I do not want the union smashed, or the ports to the sold?

        Your logic has lead you back to where we were yesterday, which is dividend argument, its not all about the dividend – And if it really was, then there are other ways to improve it than slashing labour costs, and jeopardising the public ownership of the POA. Because there are far bigger waste of public funds actually costing the Auckland tax payers money….you have gone full circle because you have got nothing to back up your vacuous, arduous debate!

        One dimensional arguments are a joke!

        • james 111

          Its not one dimensional the people of Tauranga are getting great returns we are getting shite returns. We cant just keeping shite returns because there happens to be a union on the wharf. Its not good enough. Your arguments are one dimensional based soley around the Union. We have to look at doing much better we have expensive infrastructure to build.

          • KJT



            CAN’T YOU READ.

          • muzza

            The whole premise of my argument is preserving our workforce from predatory practices you idiot! – That involves a holistic understanding of how the real world runs, and what is best for society as a functional human resource, energy resource driven interactive entity.

            “We have expensive infrastructure to build”

            Well we can just loan ourselves the fucken money for the projects then can’t we James! – Think hard about a response before you disgrace yourself, because there is more to what I just said than the words!

          • mickysavage

            James you are trolling.  It has been pointed out to you that Auckland’s labour costs are not higher than Tauranga’s but you refuse to respond to it or to debate the figures.

            If the return is insufficient then cut the chief executive’s pay and the boards’ budget.

            You are a troll, and a not particular good one at that. 

            • Craig Glen Eden

              Totally agree Micky The CEO’s pay should be reduced annually by $500.000 as from yesterday, the boards payments should be halved as of yesterday, they are nothing but bludgers.

              Im still waiting for Len Browns apology to the Union members their wives partners and children to!

            • higherstandard

              It would be useful if someone/anyone in the MSM would do an analysis of the various differences between POT and POAL – or at least if Gaynor could expand on the ‘missing” bits of information from his piece.

          • lprent

            The people of tauranga don’t own their port. You appear to be getting desperate – is your imagination failing?

          • Colonial Viper

            James is merely confirming that port management is incompetent, and over several years have created a wholly over invested and underperforming port that they are now trying blame workers for, and to use as leverage to destroy a union.

            Fire executive management and the directors, and improve profits by 10.5% instantly.

      • KJT 12.1.3

        That is not what POAL’s annual report said last year.

        Apart from the valid argument about national economic efficiency may be greater if essential infrastructure is not required to make a commercial return.

        Aucklands cost of capital has also gone up because of short sighted borrowing to pay dividends.

        Same as NZ’s is because of borrowing for tax cuts to pay for Hawaii holidays.

        If they are not getting adequate returns then the best thing to do is what the shipping companies do. Unite to keep the rates up.

        Returns are going up as shipping returns. This is a manufactured crisis.

        Merge with POT and charge what it costs, instead of subsidising Mearsk/MSC and HL, before both ports are destroyed and we lose our hub port to Singapore or Botany.

        Fake competition between infrastructure providers is costing NZ far too much.

        • muzza

          Completely agree KJT!

          It is even quite possible if PoAL as sold off that we would then see a merger, for exactly the reasons you describe!

      • Jum 12.1.4

        james 111,

        Many of the posters on here are Auckland ratepayers; they believe in people over profit, but with any profit going back into the people.

        POA profits were also funding the public transport system as at 2007 plus. Private owners will not want to fund ‘public good’ assets.

        The Auckland shareholders of POA, i.e. Auckland ratepayers are the same ones that believe in people over profit, but with any profit going back into the people. That is what helps make Auckland a great city, not stealing Auckland ratepayers’ assets and giving the profits to a few private shareholders.

        How stupid are you? Actually no that’s not the question.

        It has become abundantly obvious that since Key went manic over Labour’s decision to stop the airport sale, said he was going to sell KiwiBank, in 2005ish, then the priceless energy resources in 2006, farmland to follow, that the intelligent retention of New Zealand assets to keep dividend income in New Zealand hands for all New Zealanders, was not the issue. Key knows the intelligent thing to do is to keep these assets completely NZ-owned. Especially with the TPPA looming over us.

        Unfortunately, for Kiwis, his overwhelming greed for acquisition, and with others like him, will always quash any sense of what is the right and intelligent decision to make..

        Intelligence therefore has nothing to do with the full-blown greed of the intended thieves of Kiwi assets. So my question to you is – how greedy are you?

      • newsense 12.1.5

        James how much do you get paid to be here?

        Did you read the Brian Gaynor article you quoted blaming debt levels at a highly profitable port on poor management and unnecessary dividends?

        • McFlock

          If James111 is a paid troll then it’s proof that the entire capitalist system has failed. Even if he’s actually a cheap textbot with an AI designed by the lowest bidder.

          • mik e

            more like a member of a well orchestrated tag team it seems one member introduces doubt and when he has been dispatched the next troll pops up with another strand of propaganda.
            its so obvious it makes you lol.

            • McFlock

              I’ve no doubt that j111 believes he is the next Ayn Rand, slaying communists left and right by the overwhelming force of his intellect, but I really don’t see anyone paying for his idiocy.

          • RedLogix

            No that’s not fair. For all that it’s tempting to mock him, it’s not that simple. Interacting with him this last week or so it seems he’s sincere enough.

            What he’s doing is reflecting his own position as a self-employed person and projecting it on to everyone else. And he’s demonstrates exactly the qualities needed, intensely competitive and persistent in the face of repeated setbacks.

            What’s missing is the ability to empathise and connect with anything much wider than this rather narrow world he currently inhabits. Even without drawing on the rather loaded sociopath label, it’s clear that people exhibit a huge range in this capacity. It’s kind of fascinating watching it in action.

  13. randal 13

    its obvious that the msm dont want to know unless you earn $750,000 a year, live in “Remmers” and will pay to have your piccy in the social pages on Sunday.
    the press here are worse than poodles and they have all had their balls cut off.
    and PS.
    I dont want to “smash” crackletits kate.
    I just feel sorry for her.

  14. newsense 14

    This is some great journalism.

    As some of our major trading partners have societies where people can work 6 or 7 days a week and be at work until 10pm at times completely at the boss’s discretion I think we should be greatful for unions.

    The tradition of so much of NZ culture relies on day-light saving and having time to have a backyard bbq, play beach cricket and dad actually getting home to see the kids and do things with them.

    The same pricks who are pushing this are probably the ones complaining about child abuse (oh those shameful ignorant brutes don’t know any better- we should donate something- now I feel better) and men being excluded from children’s lives. You know the ‘playing to participate, it’s all the girlie teachers fault, things were better in my day etc etc”

    The great thing about our country is the climate and the democratic access to the outdoors and the life-style- plus not having too many snakes or spiders. You don’t have to be rich to enjoy a NZ beach, back yard or bush walking track you just need to spend the time to do it.

    Let’s not lose that to this anti-union, anti-us push.

  15. Paul Campbell 15

    Ah – now I see the Nat’s cunning plan – we’re going to get pay parity with Australia by taking 20% pay cuts – OK if it’s someone else I guess

  16. Eduardo Kawak 16

    Clearly the Supercity, backed by Nat govt and friends, is just clearing the way to sell off the POA.

    These families represent the last remnants of what once made New Zealand a great place to live. You’re witnessing its final death throes.

    Most of NZ are already the very drones that these families don’t want to become and are therefore largely ambivalent towards supporting this strike, or are quite happy to see the port workers chopped down. Always more room at the bottom.

    • Puddleglum 16.1

      I think you may be right, Eduardo Kawak.

      There’s a kind of inverted envy that happens in these situations. Those who feel their lives are pretty bad (you know, the ‘kiwi battlers’), don’t want to see anyone else fighting for a better life.

      That might mean that they, too, could fight for something better rather than meekly accept their miserable circumstances. For some reason they can’t – or won’t – join in that fight. They find a kind of misguided sense of nobility and moral character, perhaps, in their acceptance of misery?

      • RedLogix 16.1.1

        Slave mentality?

        • Colonial Viper

          Down trodden morale, with no guiidance or leadership to inspire them.

          Sadly its in environments like this that outfits like Destiny Church can really get traction.

          • Puddleglum

            I’m reading Joe Bageant’s ‘Rainbow Pie’ and it pretty much describes the same condition in the US in relation to the white underclass.

            Here’s a review to get a feel for the book’s message. 

            • RedLogix

              Thanks. Read that rather good review out to my partner just now. We’re both struck at how universal the story is. It’s not a remote tale from America; it’s literally 20m away from where I sit typing this right now… over the fence in lives well …Joe finds their ignorance appalling but empathizes totally with their condition. These are not bad people, they’re just struggling to keep their heads above water and without a voice of their own (except Joe’s) what kind of a chance do they have?

  17. These testimonials show very clearly how there is a direct trade-off between social cohesion (within families and communities), on the one hand, and ‘economic efficiency’, on the other.

    Those on the right are often loathe to admit that the social world is always compromised when we organise ourselves primarily for the benefit of capital.

    They think they can have their cake and eat it too (i.e., organise the world more and more for profit and commerce and yet still keep stable families, vibrant communities, happy individuals, etc.). Magical thinking.

    Or, at least, when the inevitable happens and society’s ‘glue’ weakens further, they then blame the individuals concerned.

    None so blind.

    • muzza 17.1

      Nah the right a well aware that their policies break down families and communities…For the record the left also know it, and where is their support for the workers? Oh thats it, the Left and the Right are the same ! Got it yet!

  18. RedLogix 18


    I’ve been curious to ask if you’d care to enlarge on something you said a few weeks ago:

    There’s an emerging body of work on the evolution of this propensity and on its neurology (and on the development of the neurology – i.e., how our brains get sculpted by extraordinarily subtle aspects of our early social world and experiences).

    There’s also a convergence of the research – from the neurological, evolutionary and psychological through to the sociological and anthropological – that seems to reveal a pretty consistent picture of what may be ailing many people in today’s world.

    Any suggestions where I could find something accessible and readable for a non-academic that enlarges on this ‘convergence’?

  19. Hi Redlogix,

    I tend to know the work from a lot of primary literature, but the book ‘Brain and Culture‘ by Bruce Wexler is a pretty good introduction to the neurodevelopmental research and how the brain’s plasticity leaves it very susceptible to the vagaries of social input right from the start.

    A paper I’ve linked to before is a bit ‘academic’ but makes similar points in the context of human wellbeing, brain development and evolution. It’s by Eric Keverne, a very well known worker in the field (Cambridge).

    Keverne also penned this pdf on ‘mental capital’, neurodevelopment and wellbeing. It might be an easier place to start than the article, though still a bit ‘academic’.

  20. randal 20

    mind medicine and matter.
    gregory zillboorg.

  21. Rodel 21

    Worked as a seagull (casual) for a couple of years on the Auckland wharves many years ago. Wouldn’t do it again. Too hard and too dangerous. Too irregular; you can’t make family plans and if you didn’t work overtime you weren’t employed the next day.

    When anyone is critical of wharf workers, I say, “Oh! you’ve worked on the wharves then, have you?”
    They never have and wouldn’t have a f***ing clue what its like

  22. Using children in protests? Classy!

    • Crap, Brett.

      What is even more “classy” is children growing up in families with reduced income!

      But don’t let that bother you. Oh no, your concern is that having children on the picket lines is a clear reminder of growing child-poverty in this country, and that reducing wages is not going to help.

      Can’t have that, now, eh?

      • Gosman 22.1.1

        I doubt that the changes to their terms of employment will throw any of these families into poverty Frank.

        I do find it slightly distasteful using children in essentially a contractual dispute. It would be like if I showed up at a meeting about my contract renewal with my kids. They are being used for PR purposes.

        • muzza

          Like using babies in a political campaign you mean….keep it balanced FFS gosman

          “I doubt that the changes to their terms of employment will throw any of these families into poverty Frank”

          Know that for sure do you Gosman, you do the families budgets or the warfies work for them do you Gosman…

          You don’t have a clue – but feel free to let us know how much you earn, what you do during your working day, so we can all pass judgement on you, which would be fair , given you seem happy to pass ignorant judgements on others!

          • Jum


            Great idea. Has it been done yet.

            If not do some test cases of the people on very high salaries; CEOs e.g. what they do during the day, what they get paid, what are the perks that don’t show up with the $ quoted, like free cars, food and drink, air trips, free tickets to the corporate box for World cup rugby games, that sort of thing. (Sounds like the NAct MPs shock horror!) Also, the benefit to their children’s education and careers…

            It seems that the higher you get in $ or power terms the more you get for nothing. Some might call it bribery.

            Then, mention what happens to the firms they are in control of when they are not there.

            Now line that up against the wharf workers’ benefits and what happens when they’re not there and no one else does the job.

            Then, outline the benefits to their children’s education and careers…

        • Frank Macskasy

          “I do find it slightly distasteful using children in essentially a contractual dispute.”

          No you don’t, Gosman.

          You have stated time and again that you don’t care about people losing their jobs. You’ve even stated it on my blog; “People lose their jobs all the time. It is part of life. There is no natural right to be employed in a productive job.”

          Rightwingers like you don’t give a toss about the families of workers, and your belated “concern” is nothing but hypocrisy at it’s worse.

          This isn’t about “PR” – only you could see it in such terms. This is about who will be affected when wages are yet again driven down.

          When you actually begin to feel a shred of emotion for child poverty in this country; when you show some measure of concern about people losing their jobs; then talk to us about it.

          Otherwise, your crocodile tears are pathetic.

          • Gosman

            How does my view that people are not entitled by right to have a job invalidates my view that using children in employment contract disputes is distasteful?

            Care to explain the logic behind that curious position Frank?

            By the way I think you will find an awful lot of people hold the position I do on jobs. It isn’t so way out there as you seem to view it.

            • felix

              How does my view that people are not entitled by right to have a job invalidates my view that using children in employment contract disputes is distasteful?”

              Because the former statement demonstrates that you don’t give a shit about kids.

              • Gosman

                How exactly?

                • McFlock

                  Because even an evasive spin-merchant like you knows that unemployment in parents is directly linked to any number of factors that increase the odds of morbidity and mortality in children. 
                  No right to jobs for parents therefore means that children have no right to health or, in too many cases, life.


            • muzza

              You really are the sort of human being this world could do with less of Gosman…

              ‘By the way I think you will find an awful lot of people hold the position I do on jobs. It isn’t so way out there as you seem to view it.’ – Yet more sweeping statements with no facts to back it up with!

              People do have a right to create security for themelves, but over a very a long period of time, they have been legislated against on behalf of corporations, had jobs sent offshore, and in many cases the taxpayer had sponsored the offshoring, had massive wealth transfer (theft) by socialising the capitialist banking/corporate system that YOUR TYPE love so much…the list goes on and on….

              Oh people have a right to look after themselves and their families, that much is a given, its just that the heartless pricks in charge, appreal to other heartless pricks like you, who are the aspirational idiots who Key can t count on to be fooled to follow him along, all the while the gap grows, and along with it the societal problems that we have been seeing get worse for decades!

              Is this what you want to be apart of , because I sure as hell dont!

            • Frank Macskasy

              “Care to explain the logic behind that curious position Frank?”

              I already have.

              You just don’t like the answer I provided.

              Sorry, Gosman, but after all your right wing ideological clap-trap, where you have never expressed one iota of caring for other people, it’s a bit late in the day to be expressing ‘concern’ now.

              Tell me, Gosman – are you as concerned for the maritime workers when their incomes drop if their jobs are casualised?

              Because that will surely have an affect on their children.

        • Blighty

          it’s those kids’ standard of living that you are supporting the Port taking away, Gosman.

          You should have to look at them, listen to them, and consider the impacts of your ideology on real people.

        • Molly

          Gosman, as the wife of a POA wharfie I can assure you the last thing on our minds at the moment is PR . We’ll leave the PR stunts up to Gibson and his team. The 91k 26hrs mantra seems to be working quite well for them. We’re more focused on this dispute and the concerns we now have for our family’s future, and the rest of the wharfies families.

          I didn”t see too much concern for the children of the wharfies when their parent was vilified in the media as lazy and overpaid, or in all the discussions of profit, productivity and the detrimental effects of “flexibility” so I’m surprised there is concern any over having them attend the picket line.

          This dispute affects our kids just as much as it affects their father and I, so we’ll be there together on the picket line on Jan 31st. Maybe they’ll learn some life lessons from it – that they have the right to protest if they feel something is unjust, that family is worth fighting for, that someone so valued by a company they are paid $750k a year can still let their ego get in the way, and that money doesn’t make the man.

  23. randal 23

    I think the citizens of AKL should have a spontaneous picnic on the domain to show support.
    no bloody corporate sponsporship either!

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