As the intransigence of the Port of Auckland management and board continues, action from the Left continues on a number of fronts.
There’s to be an emergency Council meeting on Thursday (11.15, public meeting) after it was felt that Richard Northey’s resolution against the contracting out was too controversial for his Accountability and Performance Committee and had to go to the full Council. As I understand it that resolution is now unlikely to proceed as internal legal advice is questioning whether the Council has the right to intervene in directors’ decisions as it would compromise their independence.
So the unions are focussing on court action which is likely to be this Friday, and mediation efforts of “2 wise men” (acceptable to both sides) plus the mayor.
But the fact that the Council is apparently not allowed an opinion on how its own businesses are run shows up the ludicrousness of the SuperCity structures that National put in. Ports of Auckland, Watercare and Auckland Transport (which by itself is the majority of Aucklanders’ rates bills) are essentially a law unto themselves; beyond the control of the Council, and thus of the people of Auckland.
The Council can, in theory, sack the Auckland Council Investments Limited (ACIL) board and put in a new one with a mandate to sack the Ports of Auckland (PoA) board and put in a board that sacks the Port management… But even that first step could likely be overturned in the courts – as if the ACIL board believe the PoA board that management are bargaining in good faith (which apparently they did, despite the evidence to the contrary), there are probably insufficient grounds for the Council to sack them.
So the Rodney-appointed crew appear safe to do what they like, far beyond Aucklanders’ control.
There’s even a rumour – that the PoA board aren’t denying – that their third labour supplier will be a PoA manager who’s in the negotiations. At any rate they have the new (lower-wage, casualised) stevedore employment contracts drawn up for any of the suppliers’ workforces, so the notion that they’ll be “independent contractors” is laughable.
So here now is where Len should be focussing, having missed the boat on taking moral leadership on people before profit, or a high-wage Auckland economy. He should now focus his guns on his own impotence: that fact that he – and through him the people of Auckland – have no say in how large important parts of the city is run. The qualms many Aucklanders had over National’s supercity are coming to fruition.
In the meantime, you can lobby the Councillors to make a statement on Thursday – even an apparently ‘illegal’ one. And you can lobby the ACIL board to do something about the PoA one – although ACIL apparently don’t meet again until April 4.