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Pearson goes to ground over privacy scandal

Written By: - Date published: 7:27 am, March 15th, 2012 - 32 comments
Categories: workers' rights - Tags: , ,

There are two, quite striking, things about PoAL’s response to the story about them illegally shopping union members’ private information to Cameron Slater.

The first is that port Chair Richard Pearson went to ground. It has clearly been part of their new campaign manager, Brent Impey’s (ex-ceo of mediaworks and good mate of Paul Henry), strategy to swap CEO Tony Gibson for Pearson in the media – presumably because Gibson’s image was consider toxic. However the very limited “no comment” response to the privacy scandal has been attributed to Gibson in every story I’ve seen it. I’d say they’re trying to keep Pearson clean – which tend to confirm to me that Gibson will be the fall-guy for this fiasco.

The second thing that strikes me is that the ports excuse that it can’t comment because it is “investigating” rings hollow. After all privileged information from the port has been turning up on Slater’s blog since last year and the company has also provided Slater with free access to the port as fodder for his smear campaign. All of which points to an ongoing relationship between port management and Slater. Clearly the port didn’t just know what was being published on his blog but were active in enabling him.

Given this it’s a bit rich for them to suddenly claim they’re investigating and can’t comment only after this relationship hit the media.

There are a hell of a lot of questions that need to be asked about the relationship between the port and Slater and the dirty tricks campaign they appear to have been colluding on.

I’d suggest these questions need to be asked of Richard Pearson. He is, after all, the port’s spokesperson and the man that has been making the unsubstantiated claims attacking the union’s behaviour.


32 comments on “Pearson goes to ground over privacy scandal”

  1. ghostwhowalksnz 2

    It never made sense to me why the detailed wages of the ports workers was emailed to a blogger in Hong Hong, just ‘because she asked for it’.
    But of course Pearson has been living in Hong Hong until very recently relocating to NZ. He still has links to HK through the Wellington Lines company he chairs, which is wholly owned by the Cheung Kong group , who also control Hutchisons.

  2. Jackal 3

    Time for an intervention on PoAL’s cult of corporate corruption.

  3. Tiger Mountain 4

    A flying picket to Pearsons pad, see how his family like having their privacy breached.

  4. Jono 5

    I note that DPF is trumpeting leaked employee/union bargaining team disciplinary action detail
    s published in the NBR. This keeps getting nastier, and the people involved on both sides arent doing themselves any kind of favours.

  5. Harry 6

    The guy who leaked the details to NBR, Rod Lingard, was sent away by the cops after he hit a picketer with his car (non-injury). I’ve had dealings with him in the past and he’s a f**king nut.

    • Tiger Mountain 6.1

      Yes, you do get professional scab herders and anti union obsessives but they usually wear a blue or private security uniform!

      Whale and his anonymous dirthy filthy narking “tipsters” have proabably already been through Garry Parsloe’s trash bin.

      The Lingards of the world, have casued death (Evans, Abbott, Clarke), injury and disruption to many union families over the years so they cannot be totally ignored as nice as it would be to do so.

  6. John72 7

    Give P. of A. some credit for looking after staff. Leaping on any good as an oportunity to criticize is typical of the whole debate. There are seldom any comments of a nature that might resolve the dispute, It is only comments that might antagonize someone or enhance any existing ill feeling. Spectators are usually acting as children and treating the public as children. It is rude. Are they being used to distract our attention from other subjects?
    . Luke 10: 30-37

  7. Barnsley Bill 8

    Has anybody else been wondering why MUNZ seem unable to create any PR using a member who does not have an outrageous backstory or manages to do something that will not bite them in the butt when a bit of sunlight is shone on their message?
    Surely they can find a member outside the inner cabal who has not been sacked/suspended/trespassed or offered uttered B/S when interviewed.
    A lone blogger from South Auckland and an ex-pat blogger in Hong Kong has tripped them up in every single effort to put their version of the story across to a compliant media.

    • RedLogix 8.1


      Guarantee that if we shone some light on your backstory we could uncover something ‘outrageous’. Not that I’m interested in doing so, but that’s because we have scruples about people’s privacy.

    • “A lone blogger from South Auckland and an ex-pat blogger in Hong Kong has tripped them up in every single effort to put their version of the story across to a compliant media.”


      I doubt that.

      F’instance, POAL’s mythical $91,000 salary figure has been well and truly shown to be dodgy at best, and an outright lie at worst.

      POAL has used illegal methods to discredit individuals.

      The redundancy notices may well be illegal.

      TVNZ and Radio NZ refused to be complicit in identifying Slater and his odious blog on the port worker/bereavement leave issue. Only TV3 identified all the players – and then Duncan Garner had the cheek to post on his own blog that he didn’t like Slater’s methods in slagging off TV3 because of the 2008 PSA tapes on John Key’s broken promises.

      There’s more. But I think you kinda get the drift.

  8. Jenny 9

    Yes POAL have looked after their staff in the past. But that is all over. The recent move to contract out is to draw a line under that past.

    Yes, port workers have received time off on pay for bereavement. But contract port workers have never seen this side of the Port Company.

    One example:

    Every year the Port makes a big deal of the Port employee children’s Christmas Party.

    But the Port make sure to pay only for the children of the permanent mainly unionised workforce to attend this event. Even if contract workers offer to pay to have their children attend, they are excluded.

    As the scandal over the release of personal information shows, POAL’s charity comes at a price, and they count every favour. The contract workforce on the other hand have never been the beneficiary of this employer munificence.


    Because they have no power and so they don’t count.

    There is no need for the Ports management to keep on the good side of a contract workforce.

    You can gaurantee that under the new regime of a total contracted out workforce, last Christmas will mark the last ever, Ports of Auckland’s employee children’s Christmas Party.

  9. Barnsley Bill 10

    Is it the port excluding the non-union children or the union? That is a fair question based on some of the reports around the behaviour of some of the union members towards non union members.

    • Te Reo Putake 10.1

      After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad, and the vampire, he had some awful substance left with which he made a scab.

      A scab is a two-legged animal with a corkscrew soul, a waterlogged brain, a combination backbone of jelly and glue. Where others have hearts, he carries a tumor of rotten principles.

      When a scab comes down the street, men turn their backs and angels weep in heaven, and the devil shuts the gates of hell to keep him out. No man has a right to scab so long as there is a pool of water to drown his carcass in, or a rope long enough to hang his body with.

      Judas was a gentleman compared with a scab. For betraying his master, he had character enough to hang himself. A scab has not.

      Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pottage. Judas sold his Savior for thirty pieces of silver. Benedict Arnold sold his country for a promise of a commission in the British army. The scab sells his birthright, country, his wife, his children and his fellowmen for an unfulfilled promise from his employer.

      Esau was a traitor to himself; Judas was a traitor to his God; Benedict Arnold was a traitor to his country. A scab is a traitor to his God, his country, his family and his class.

    • IrishBill 10.2

      Ahh the old “some of the reports” bit. Your mate would be proud of you using the “pig-fucking” argument.

      • Barnsley Bill 10.2.1

        Thought “some of the reports” would be better than a gabillion links to Cam and CK littering your blog.
        IB, they have used three people to pour the syrup on via video clips and Cam has revealed the real backstory on each of them within 12 hours.

        • mickysavage


          You confuse character assassination with analysis.  Slater attacks in the hope the ordinary people will not lift their heads above the parapet.  

          He should subject himself to the same sort of process.  A bene basher that receives a sickness benefit.  A crusader against what is wrong with our society that is supporting the 1%.

          He is an extreme example of a complex character.  And an extreme  hypocrite. 

          • anon

            Still no explanation for Slater’s rapid departure from leader of Ngaio Scout Group all those years ago…

            • lprent

              Cameron Slater responds via e-mail

              Whenever I comment on your blog they never appear.

              Which kind of makes it impossible to comment on that. It seems to be a tactic for people to say still no explanation for all manner of spurious accusations, as I have said none of my comments ever get through.

              However that comment above is designed to smear in a most scurrilous manner, which you probably agree with but in this instance really is getting beyond the pale, so much so that I find myself in the unenviable position of emailing you.

              For the record I was Scout Leader at Ngaio Scout Group for 9 years. The reason I left was that I had a promotion int he Datawarehouse company I worked for which involved setting up the Melbourne Office…I move myself and my family to Melbourne, it was in 2000.

              There is nothing at all sinister or untoward about it.

              I’ll have a look at what is happening to his comments. But I don’t knowingly have him on a auto-moderation or auto-spam list. Certainly haven’t seen his comments showing up in moderation or spam. I did a quick hunt through the previous comments on site and none of his IP’s are on the spam lists.

              That suggests that the problem is in the IP spam filters at akismet. But I’ll get some details to look at after work.

              I share Cam’s distaste at contact, but see the need to resolve it as he isn’t banned from the site.

              • Lanthanide

                Since I know this’ll pop up in the comments list and you’ll see it: have you looked at why Cam can’t comment on The Standard? I really think we’re missing out by not having him able to comment.

                • lprent

                  I had a look yesterday and it isn’t anything obvious. Looks like it is that akismet that doesn’t like him. Unless they’ve changed something since the last time I had to test something, the only way I have to test it is to feed the backend code directly using his details until I find what bit that it objects to. Most likely the IP’s since I fed it a comment with his other details in without problems.

                  But I’m a bit overwhelmed with work at present. So it is a weekend job where it only has to compete with the washing and Lyn assigning me household tasks for my own good. The latter is an amazing motivator to do political and voluntary work.

        • lprent

          And everyone thinks he was bright enough to extract the information from the ports HR files without management help. Yeah right!

          Convenient sock puppet.

  10. Jester 11

    Well he did manage to extract Labours donation records.

    • felix 11.1

      Anyone who thinks he did that by himself is, well, probably him.

      As Lynn says, just a useful idiot.

  11. TightyRighty 12

    It could also be noted that the posters on the standard and the other munz cheerleaders have gone to ground after being completely trounced at every turn. MUNZ and now CTU PR sucks, MUNZ approach sucks, MUNZ sucks and now the MUNZ cheerleaders are ducking for cover. Oh the irony.

    Seen the PoT stats vs those that helen kelly held up as evidence of why privatisation and casualisation cause health and safety issues? seems like PoT won that battle too, like warners.

    [lprent: It is in front of a court. The authors always tend to post less frequently and with more care when things are getting argued in front of the courts.

    The reasons for this should be obvious even to someone as unthinking as you. But in your unthinking way, you just walked over a line…

    8 week ban for trying to tell us what we are doing.]

    • “It could also be noted that the posters on the standard and the other munz cheerleaders have gone to ground after being completely trounced at every turn.”


      Perhaps in your Alternative Reality, TR…

      Considering that MUNZ has an injunction out to stop the “redundancies” (ie; sackings), and POAL has agreed not to pursue the matter under the injunction is granted, I think it’s clear who is on the back foot.

      Once the matter of “redundancies” is settled, I think there may be a few red faces in the POAL boardrooms…

  12. John72 13

    Frank, I am trying to help you. Did the posters “go to ground”? Was the march “…trounced at every turn…”? I was not there and so I am dependant on a relable, unemotional observer to describe what transpired. You have not succeeded. Who can I trust? Accurate presentation of the information will win the case.
    Something that reads like an unbiased presentation of facts.
    Emotional rubbish just describes the author.

    [lprent: Let me help you. Read the policy.

    Then have a look at the ban that TR picked up above. It is higher than you’d get as he is a repeat offender. But you’ll find that I get singularly unamused when people try to use broad statements about this site and/or it’s authors – even second hand. It is a Darwin level of foolishness to break the rules of a site either deliberately or inadvertently. As the local cantankerous ogre, I define it as my duty to educate people who don’t understand that and/or who are so imprecise in their language use that there is ambiguity about who they are referring to.

    You’ve just had your warning. ]

  13. John72 14

    Iprent, Thank you. I have read the Rules more carefully. I assume that you are acting as a moderator as refered to in para.2 of the Rules. Would you be kind enough to explain, personally or on this site, how I have offended you. Bearing in mind the nature of some other comments appearing, I would like to think that there has been a misunderstanding between thee and I.

  14. Frank, I am trying to help you. Did the posters “go to ground”? Was the march “…trounced at every turn…”? I was not there and so I am dependant on a relable, unemotional observer to describe what transpired. You have not succeeded.

    If you’re making a point, John, it escapes me.

    But to offer some clarification to your uncertainties, the POAL’s current lockout of union port workers is illegal. It contravenes Section 97 of the Employment Relations Act 2000, to whit,

    97. Performance of duties of striking or locked out employees

    (1) This section applies if there is a lockout or lawful strike.

    (2) An employer may employ or engage another person to perform the work of a striking or locked out employee only in accordance with subsection (3) or subsection (4).

    (3) An employer may employ another person to perform the work of a striking or locked out employee if the person—

    (a) is already employed by the employer at the time the strike or lockout commences; and

    (b) is not employed principally for the purpose of performing the work of a striking or locked out employee; and

    (c) agrees to perform the work.

    (4) An employer may employ or engage another person to perform the work of a striking or locked out employee if—

    (a) there are reasonable grounds for believing it is necessary for the work to be performed for reasons of safety or health; and

    (b) the person is employed or engaged to perform the work only to the extent necessary for reasons of safety or health.

    (5) A person who performs the work of a striking or locked out employee in accordance with subsection (3) or subsection (4) must not perform that work for any longer than the duration of the strike or lockout.

    (6) An employer who fails to comply with this section is liable to a penalty imposed by the Authority under this Act in respect of each person who performs the work concerned.”


    I suspect POAL management are relying on Section 4 to justify their illegal lockout, hence Pearson’s bizarre claims of “threats of violence”.

    By contrast, when Wellington port workers when on strike without the prerequisite two week notice, they were taken to the Employment Authority who ordered their immediate return to work. The workers complied.

    It appears that the Union abides by the law, whilst POAL management break the law at will.

    Not cricket, I would say?

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