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Port transparency Bill read tomorrow

Written By: - Date published: 6:53 am, September 18th, 2012 - 14 comments
Categories: accountability - Tags: ,

Darien Fenton’s port transparency Bill is due for its first reading in the house tomorrow and, as far as I can tell, it’s got a pretty good chance of passing.

Right now council owned ports are exempted from the Official Information Act. This appears to be a hangover from being prepared for privatisation from the fourth Labour government days but what it means now is that there are billions of dollars of public money tied up in ports around the country that are under the control of largely unaccountable boards.

While that’s not been ideal, it’s also not been a huge issue until the recent dispute at Ports of Auckland when one of these unaccountable boards decided to use ratepayers’ money to pursue a costly and ideological crusade against its own workforce.

As far as I can tell this has directly cost the Auckland ratepayers tens of millions of dollars but nobody will ever know for sure because the company is not subject to any transparent process.

Now it looks like the management and board are preparing for another round of costly action. And why wouldn’t they? They’re not the ones bearing that cost.

Fenton’s Bill would be a step in correcting this situation in that it would turn ports into Council Controlled Organisations and thus introduce some transparency by putting them back on the OIA schedule.

Of course this isn’t just a union issue, accountability and transparency are fundamental aspects of a functioning market and few politicians would deny that the public should have a right to know how their money is being spent. It’s just common sense.

I understand that this Bill has the backing of most parties in the house. It will be interesting to see how it goes tomorrow.

14 comments on “Port transparency Bill read tomorrow ”

  1. Don’t expect National or Banks to back this, it would prevent their buddies from spending council money union-busting and firing workers.

    As for Dunne, I usually flip a coin. It’s about as reliable as he is.

    • IrishBill 1.1

      I’m not so sure. National aren’t happy with the mess the PoAL board have made of things – it’s made labour law a lot harder to touch. Farrar has also signalled there may be support from National.

    • xtasy 1.2

      Hah – Banksy and O.I.A., that is like fire and water! Surely, nothing to hide?!

  2. higherstandard 2

    All public owned assets including QANGOS, SOEs, CCOs etc should be subject to OIA and have their full accounts published annually along with all public liabilities like government and councils etc.

    • Akldnut 2.1

      I would add to that “all communications – internal and external” without possibility of legal action to stop this information being made public.

    • Andrew 2.2

      lets not forget the requirement for incorporated societies to file their accounts too…

    • xtasy 2.3

      Absolutely, we might get back some meaning into words like “transparency”, “accountability” and “honesty” then!

  3. Kotahi Tāne Huna 3

    Start your shredders.

  4. KJT 4

    I think it is being far too optimistic to call POAL a win for the Union movement.

    POAL management are committed to Union busting regardless of the cost.
    As they have spent more than 30 million so far, (34 Million. Not counting the losses to shippers, freight companies and customers) more than they will ever save, trying to remove MUNZ, they cannot fail. It would destroy their future employment prospects as Union busters.

    If I lost my employer 34 million in an ideological failure I would be tendering my resignation fast. This mob do not even appear concerned.
    Apparently Hide sowed up the port corporatisation so effectively that the owners, the people of Auckland, cannot even sack the board and management which are destroying their port for an anti worker agenda.

    Rodney Hide’s herald article exemplified the sheer spite, bile and hate directed towards employees who dare to assert any rights. And repeated the same discredited numbers. When are any so called “journalists” going to check his facts?

    At present NACT intend to introduce laws so the same thing cannot happen again. Removing requirements for good faith from employers and the requirement to come to an agreement, for example.

    POAL are taking the McD’s approach. Attrition of union members. Which seems to be USA SOP when Union busting.
    Reducing the hours and conditions of union non-permanents so they have to quit. POAL have just employed a further 40 odd non-union casuals while at least 20 union members have left, changing the balance.
    The sad thing is it is the more skilled, who can get other jobs, have been the first to get sick of the crap going on, and left.
    There is now a whole gang of unskilled wallies off the street whose crane rates and abilities are well below the rest.
    Obviously Union busting comes ahead of increases in port efficiency.

    Any business which is publicly owned or contracts to the Government should be subject to the OIA.
    The pretense of commercial sensitivity is used too often to hide what they are doing with our money.

  5. captain hook 5

    now we will be able to see just how much these rugged individualists are paying themselves>

    • quartz 5.1

      now we will be able to see just how much *public money* these rugged individualists are paying themselves.


  6. Jenny 6

    It’s a common sense Bill. It will be interesting to see who backs it.


    It will also be interesting to see what arguments those who oppose it will use to justify their position.

    “We can’t interfere…..”, “We must let the managers manage….” “etc. etc.” “Blah, blah, blah, blah”.

    When incompetent POAL management ideologues make a complete mess of things locking up the port for months in an attempt to evict the unionists from the workplace, and then start demanding that the government intervene to help them out.

    It might be worth quoting all the government’s rhetoric “We can’t interfere” back at them.

  7. XTASY 7

    What a revelation: Guess who supported the first reading, and who blocked ALL submissions in the first instance. Support from most, but stern opposition from government: National “Socialist” (NAZI) Party led by Key!

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