Save our Port

Written By: - Date published: 12:15 am, February 9th, 2012 - 186 comments
Categories: infrastructure, Unions - Tags:

It’s slipped down the news agenda but is about to come back up it: The Ports of Auckland Dispute.  The next round is beginning as the dispute is only just warming up.

The Maritime Union of New Zealand (MUNZ) has had leaflets in suburban newspapers explaining their side of the dispute, and will today be handing out flyers urging people to sign a petition in support of fair and secure employment for their members.

When you sign it, an email goes to Tony Gibson so he can feel the level of support the port workers have.

Gibson has been forced back into mediation on Friday after being caught out claiming that it was MUNZ who had caused negotiations to break down.  They’d love him to have received a lot of emails of worker support by then.

Gibson has been caught out on quite a few things, from the “high” wages his employees earn ($27/hour for stevedores – 24/7, no overtime – $14.25 for casual workers; compared to his $750k salary) to claims of lack of productivity (Auckland sits second in the Australasian league table, just behind Tauranga).  Union negotiators feel they’ve never had an employer less interested in negotiating, or doing so in such bad faith as to threaten to sack all the workers and contract out in the middle of negotiations.

But the worst thing for Auckland Ratepayers is that he’s being unreasonable on our money.

A leaked report showed that the Port’s management have set aside $9 million to have this dispute, and another $9 million will be needed for redundancies.  They have hired a PR company, lawyers and 3 negotiating contractors to spend our dime, attacking the workers who only last September they were celebrating for breaking productivity records.

The workers have been getting up to rates of 34 containers per hour off ships – that’s 1 minute 40 from on the ship to stacked in the appropriate pile.  And keeping that up for hours on end.  This has led to a record number of containers in the last reporting year (up 3.1% on the year before), non-container materials up 24% and a record low 1.7 days average time in port for ships – generating huge savings for the shipping companies.

Those shipping companies are where the profit is being squeezed, not the labour costs.  Happy to pay $480/container in Australia, the international shipping companies aim for prices of $210-$220 in NZ as they play the Ports off against each other, and we build ever more infrastructure to try and compete. Those low prices mean the incredible productivity our workers are achieving is merely resulting in big profits for foreign shipping giants – like Maersk, who have provided the last 2 Ports of Auckland CEOs.

The dispute is largely about management wanting casualisation of the workforce – no guaranteed hours, no guaranteed job.  Always on call, and kept hungry for more work should it come your way.  Breaking worker power.

The union have offered “major changes in working conditions. These include more flexibility in rosters, changes to overtime rosters, and greater use of part-timers. Port management said these offers addressed major concerns and were ‘big’ in terms of costs savings. But then they said they didn’t want to settle the agreement.”

The union also offered to take part in further long-term productivity drives, and only requested a 2.5% rise in wages after a year of 4.6% inflation.  All this refused, and then the management held out the unions refusing a 10% rise (over 30 months and not agreeing to complete casualisation) as unreasonable.

But it is Gibson who is being unreasonable with his threats to contract out all labour, and his letters to the families of port workers about wage losses to try and create emotional stress on the home front.

And with these threats he also threatens the 9% pre-tax return the Port makes as one of the Council’s more profitable assets.

The aim is to raise that to 12%, but Gibson is incurring costs and ruining the reputation of an incredibly productive port – it is hard to see how his actions will raise the income.

It is easy to see how his actions could threaten Auckland’s enviable safety record – no death in about 22 years (Tauranga, the model they want, has had 3 deaths in the last 18 months).  Contracted out workers are less safe – you never know who you’re working with, and a climate of fear is established with worry that if you raise safety concerns you may not get any work tomorrow…

It is easy to see how the sequence of strikes and lock-outs he is causing threatens the estimated $1 billion of wider economic benefits the Port creates for Auckland.

And it is easy to see how the flow of port workers will only increase with his actions – they can earn about double in Australia.  Currently 2-4 each week are heading to Australia from Auckland (5/week nationally).

And with that flood of skills leaving the productivity will plummet.  These are skilled workers – it takes 6 months to get the crane drivers etc fully up to speed.  The Engineers? 3-4 years.

None of this bodes well for the Port, or Auckland ratepayers.

So sign the petition and back the workers – let’s make Tony see sense.

186 comments on “Save our Port”

  1. Jenny 1

    Powerful report Bunji and a great rejoinder to Eddie’s call for the Greens and Occupy and not to support the wharfies. Let’s hope that the Labour Party, and the Labour Party affiliated union leaders and the Labour Party Mayor of Auckland take the hint and change their stance to get in behind the wharfies too.

    • Gosman 1.1

      Yes. Where is the Mayor you Auckland based lefties took great delight when he was elected?

      Why isn’t the MUNZ targeting him with e-mails?

      Also what happened with the ‘smoking gun’ evidence of bad faith bargaining? I thougt this dispute was going to be sorted out once the MUNZ had taken this revellation to court.

    • Te Reo Putake 1.2

      Why do you keep lying, Jenny? I appreciate it must be hard to be ignored by working people at the same time as you claim to be their champion, but you really need to get a grip on your inability to comprehend what other people write. It’s that political dyslexia that has lead you to describe the MUNZ leadership as scabs, just because you can’t accept their democratic right to run the dispute as they see fit.

      • mickysavage 1.2.1

        I understand MUNZ is comfortable with the Parliamentary Labour Party’s stance at this stage.

        The crunch time will be if and when the dispute heats up. 

      • Jenny 1.2.2

        Tena koe, Te Reo Putake. In his post, “1951 it ain’t, for now”, Eddie lays out the argument that because the wharfies are only 300 workers in one port, they should not be given support in case National uses this as an excuse to attack the rest of the trade union movement.

        Eddie has laid out what is undoubtedly, Labour Party policy as regards this dispute. The only difference between Eddie and the Labour Party leadership, is that Eddie has the courage and the decency to lay this policy out publicly and argue for it openly.

        Only 300 workers in one port are involved at present and there have been a few hours delays for a handful of ships on the 5 days of striking.

        EDDIE: “1951 it ain’t, for now”

        The last thing the workers need is Labour creating an excuse for National to attack them.

        EDDIE: “1951 it ain’t, for now”

        When I say that “this is undoubtedly Labour Party policy as regards this dispute”, I have seen no proof to the contrary that it isn’t.

        In fact every day that goes by without Labour saying or doing anything to support the wharfies confirms it.

        As well as this, self admitted Labour Party Trade Union leader, “The Voice of Reason has also argued strongly that for the wider union movement to support the wharfies would be a mistake. In this VOR recounts his efforts in thwarting any fightback against the ECA on the same grounds that Eddie has forwarded for this case. That to do so, would be to invite a National Government and employer attack.

        I have argued the contrary position.
        That the Labour Party and the Labour Party affiliated unions need to get fully behind the wharfies in their struggle against contracting out
        .
        I have argued, that in my opinion that withholding support from the wharfies rather than discouraging attacks on the wider union movement, will lead to a defeat for the wharfies, which will embolden the National Government and the employers to launch even more and greater attacks, on other unionists. I have argued that a defeat for the wharfies will hurt all working people.
        For this reason and for the plain old fashioned union principle of an injury to one is an injury to all, I have argued for the Labour Party and the Labour Party affiliated unions which they influence, get fully behind the wharfies.

        In expressing this opinion VOR has accused me of being anti-Labour. Which I disputed. I wrote that, actually for Labour to refuse to come out openly for the workers is hurting Labour. In saying this, I cited the fact that more and more union officials are joining the Greens, for which VOR accused me of being a liar. That is, before he confirmed with his own words the truth of my assertion.

        P.S.

        TRP I challenge you, (as I challenged your namesake, with no result), to point out to our readers where you think I “keep lying” or where you claim I have “described the MUNZ leadership as scabs”.

        Kia ora Jenny

        • Te Reo Putake 1.2.2.1

          The sectarian sewer keeps flowing, eh, Jenny? More lies, more madness. Still, as I noted above, you are completely irrelevant, so your attacks on MUNZ, the Labour Party and various unnamed union officials aren’t going to make any difference in the long run. But keep spinning, Jenny, if it makes you happy. Tony Gibson will be very proud of your efforts.

          • Jenny 1.2.2.1.1

            Can’t answer the question? Can’t justify your nasty slurs?

            I award you grand order of the “Epic Craft Fail”

            • Te Reo Putake 1.2.2.1.1.1

              I know what’s good for the workers but they won’t listen to me! Ungrateful bastards, listen to meeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!

              • Jenny

                It is just common sense.

                The attack on the wharfies is only the first of many and more brutal attacks to come.

                As we go into this period of wordwide recession I would like to see the workers start with a victory. With all the unionists of MUNZ returned to their workplace and their union strengthened.

                To have any chance of this, the Auckland Port workers will need the support of the New Zealand Labour Party and the Greens Party and common citizens of all walks of life.

                The Ports workers know this. That is why they have embarked on a huge and expensive outreach to the whole country.

                http://www.saveourport.com/2012/02/08/ports-of-auckland-workers-take-their-cause-to-the-streets/

                The Labour Party can withhold their support from the wharfies if they choose. But the cost will be a big one for working people.

                • Te Reo Putake

                  The first of many? Try and keep up, Jenny, it’s not that long since the CMP workers were facing the same fight. And do try and refrain from calling this worker a scab, too, eh.

          • Adele 1.2.2.1.2

            Tēnā koe, Jenny

            Te Reo Putake is a transliteration of the Voice of Reason, I say transliteration because reason is sometimes lacking.

            Kiaora, TVOR

            I would hate to be on a lifeboat with you.

            You’d most likely throw the weak and infirm from the boat for the ‘greater’ good.

            But what happens when hunger gnawingly sets in and the fat guy (trying his best to look skeletal) takes on the aroma and appearance of roast chicken.

            Principles shift more no doubt.

            • Te Reo Putake 1.2.2.1.2.1

              Kia ora, Adele.
               
              I changed my handle to celebrate Waitangi Day; I hope you approve? Well done for spotting that “The Voice of Reason” is ironic. I have a well calibrated bullshit detector and little tolerance for people who use working people as cat’s paws in their minority interest political campaigns.
               
              I respect your lifeboat comment, but fail to see what comments of mine justify your ‘weak and infirm’ line. Could you explain that a bit more, because if I have left you that impression, I can assure you that it is not intended. More likely though, is that Jenny has left you with that impression, because that’s central to her Spartist view of the world. The whole point of this ‘debate’ is that Jenny started with an unsubstantiated slur against a Standard author, and she has continued to state as fact things that are, actually, only her opinion. 
               
              I have no problem with opinion, but lies piss me off. 
                

              • Jenny

                I have asked you TVOR to point out where I have lied or called the wharfies scabs. You have refused to answer under your old monika.

                So you changed your name, and continue making such allegations. I again challenged you in your new persona to point out where I have lied or called the wharfies scabs. Again you have refused to do so.

                Really is this necessary?

                You say:

                I have no problem with opinion, but lies piss me off.

                It’s really simple, TVOR/TRP, no need to change your name again. Just point out to our readers where I have lied, or called the wharfies scabs.

                If you can’t, that’s all right too, but just don’t expect me to ignore your unsubstantiated slurs. Because I will always call you on them.

                • Te Reo Putake

                  “The workers who have left the union and continue to work are not the real scabs, they rightly sense the union is playing with an empty hand, and just want to be on the winning side.
                   
                  The real scabs are those on the left and in the union movement who are trying to isolate the wharfies by with holding their support and also urging others to withhold their support.”
                   

                  That’s MUNZ you are talking about, Jenny. Even though I know, in your splendid isolation, that you don’t get it. It’s their dispute, and their call about the involvement of other unions and political parties. There is no one on the left (other than yourself) who doesn’t support the wharfies and support their democratic right to run the dispute as they themselves determine.

                  ps, i didn’t change my handle because of your stalking, you self obsessed wally, it was just time for a change. You should try it, it’s most liberating.
                   

                  • KJT

                    Jenny is perfectly correct.

                    Labour should be supporting Unions, including MUNZ.

                    MUNZ members are not very impressed, with Labour being missing in action.

                    But, apart from a few months before the last election, Labour have either been actively hostile, or, at best, irrelevant.

                    As for asking other Unions to help. It may have escaped your notice, that unlike free democratic countries, striking in NZ is mostly illegal.
                    Asking for industrial action in support is asking other Unions to break the law.

                    Other Unions are helping on the picket line and morally, however.

                    There were some signs, under Goff, before the election, that Labour was becoming relevant again. Only to disappoint us all lately.

                    What is the point of voting Labour when there is almost no difference from NACT.

                  • Jenny

                    Good try VOR, Again trying to link me to calling the wharfies scabs.

                    As you have rightly pointed out, I said that those who are trying to isolate the wharfies and encourage others to do so, are the real scabs.

                    Out of politeness I actually didn’t name anyone. (Preferring to let those guilty identify themselves). From this omission, you have tried to claim that it was MUNZ I was talking about. This is a delilberate misrepresentation, as you well know.

                    I may have been a bit extreme in my language, but I was very disappointed and upset with Eddie for his post “1951 it ain’t for now”, where Eddie tried to encourage both the Greens and Occupy to join the Labour Party in withholding their support from the wharfies.

              • Jenny

                The whole point of this ‘debate’ is that Jenny started with an unsubstantiated slur against a Standard author

                Te Reo Putake AKA The Voice of Reason

                TRP, maybe you would like to point out to our readers, the “unsubstantiated slur” you claim that I have made “against a Standard author”?

                You won’t, because you can’t. So please stop wasting my time.

                It’s a shame, we should be discussing the best way to support the wharfies.

  2. Good stuff Bunji.

    Today the Accountability and Performance Committee of Auckland Council will consider Ports of Auckland’s latest financial results.

    It ought to be pleased.  Because the report before it records (page 52) the following:

    1. Normalised profit was $24.9m up by 2.1%.
    2. Debt levels were reduced by $19.1m to $240.3m.
    3. Non containerised cargo volumes were up 24% to 3.5m tones.
    4. Container volumes were up 3.1% to a new record of 894,383 twenty foot equivalent units.
    5. Transport of containers by rail increased by 9%.
    6. The cruise handling facilities at Princes Wharf operated near capacity.  79 calls happened during the financial year and 97 calls are booked for the upcoming season.
    7. The number of containers loaded per hour was at an all time high.
    8. The average time of a ship in port (1.7 days) was at a record low.

    It seems the Port is functioning well.  So why is POAL in crisis and why the need to deunionise the site and make redundant all of the Union workers? 

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      Not just functioning well I would say MS – the Port is functioning more efficiently and quicker than ever before.

      • KJT 2.1.1

        When management pretended to value the wharfies before Christmas and stopped the constant attacks, briefly, box rates went up as much as 25%.

        Efficiency gains are obviously available, with better management.

  3. Carol 3

    Signed.

  4. james 111 4

    Port will only be saved if the Union shows some ability to negotiate properly. The workers are being led down a path of destruction by the union.

    The port cant continue with Labour costs that are much higher than Tauranga. POA will be very happy in the end because most of the workers will eventually sign up with the new Contractor. There will be much less union interferance on the Wharf , productivity will increase,

    The Mayor and the people of Auckland will end up getting a much better return than the pathetic 2% they are receiving at the moment. Not even enough to cover capital funds invested

    • KJT 4.1

      But James. Aucklands ‘Labour’ costs per container are less than Tauranga,s. From information on their own web sites.

      They are slower in Auckland, but mostly due to logistics and organisational problems. Some of which are insoluble.

      Farrer and co forgot to allow for Tauranga’s payments to contract stevedoring companies. Over half of Tauranga’s labour costs. Typical RWNJ use of misleading stats.

      Extra costs in Auckland are in management and logistics bottlenecks. They could save heaps by sacking the multitude of managers who do not communicate with each other.

      Gibson should be sacked for trying to give more of his shareholders, us, money to Mearsk..

  5. Gosman 5

    Why isn’t MUNZ shutting this whole thing down by taking the POAL management to the courts on the basis of bad faith bargaining?

    • They are but POAL has a team of lawyers and consultants, all effectively being paid for by the long suffering Auckland ratepayer, that are holding things up.

      • Gosman 5.1.1

        Surely the other team of lawyers can’t really delay the process much. All you need is a court date and given this is one of the major industrial disputes in NZ at this time it seems strange they can’t get a day in court sorted.

        • mickysavage 5.1.1.1

          Gosman you have no idea on the Court process do you.  Admit it.  And then explain why your views are relevant and you should continuously post on the subject.

          • Gosman 5.1.1.1.1

            Where’s your evidence that the court process is being delayed and how is it being delayed?

            This is interesting and relevant information that should be more widely known. Where did you get your information from?

            • Kotahi Tane Huna 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Hey, liar, what are those epidemiologists names?

              • Gosman

                How is this relevant to the topic of the POAL employment dispute?

                • Kotahi Tane Huna

                  It’s relevant because you just demanded evidence that court action is being delayed, you deceitful hypocrite. What are their names, liar?

                  • Gosman

                    Notice a difference though between my request to mickeysavage and your obnoxious demands. I haven’t claimed mickeysavage is lying and have no reason to think he is. I simply asked him where he got his information from. I have already told you where I got my information from. I am certainly not giving individual names out because a seriously deranged leftist, (someone similar to you perhaps), might then harrass this particular person. If you want to find out what I found out then direct a query to the place that I advised you. I am sure someone will be able to help you.

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      Liar. You have not linked to their work because you are lying. Your story was a complete fabrication from start to finish, and no, you don’t get to turn this around on me: you are the one making up lies when your arguments fail. Not me, not mickeysavage: you, and I am going to point this out each and every single time you crawl out from under your rock, until the words “Gosman” and “liar” are synonymous.

                      [lprent: I think that you made your point long ago in the post, but now you are doing it repeatably in a unrelated thread. That is falls into the flame incitement. I have removed many of them apart from the ones that have replies attached. Desist immediately before I remove the problem. ]

            • mickysavage 5.1.1.1.1.2

              Gosman join the dots.  Three highly paid consultants who charge by the hour, activity which looks clearly like it is bad faith, a continuing avalanche of action against the union and delegates.
               
              Now are you willing to admit you do not have any idea of Court processes?

              • Gosman

                Where did you get your information from though mickeysavage? If you are making suppositions then that is fine but really it is only your opinion then.

                • vto

                  But gosman, where do you get your opinions? How have you managed to come up with them because they are rarely full and complete? Can you provide evidence that you are genuine and real? Can you please outline some evidence as to where you got your brains from? I ask this because it is relevant to the discussion and evaluations of the value of things you write.

      • Gosman 5.1.2

        By the way where is your evidence that the POAL team of lawyers and consultants are holding things up? I’m not stating this isn’t possible just curious that such an interesting piece of information about this situation isn’t more widely published. You obviously have information about it so where did you get it from?

    • KJT 5.2

      It has been considered, but MUNZ are still trying to keep to the good faith part on their side.

  6. Matthew Hooton 6

    Wrong. The port should be closed. Here’s why: http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/wr-opening-salvo-auckland%E2%80%99s-container-port-must-go-108818 I’ve never had so much positive feedback from readers about anything I’ve written before.

    • Gosman 6.1

      Is this behind the pay wall though Matthew? If so I don’t think many Stardardnistas are going to be able to read it.

      • passwordprotect 6.1.1

        [Article by Hooten in NBR]

        Opening Salvo: Auckland’s container port must go

        It’s becoming urgent.

        Auckland mayor Len Brown must step up and announce his expectation that Ports of Auckland (POAL) progressively move its Auckland waterfront container business elsewhere over the next 20 years.

        POAL has failed for a quarter century to modernise its workforce. Today, its crane rates are the same as Karachi’s while its recent ham-fisted attempts to improve productivity have seen both Maersk and Fonterra desert it.

        Now, in collusion with John Dalzell, boss of Auckland Council’s mafia-like Waterfront Auckland, POAL is demanding a doubling of its operating area, plus high-rise buildings for second-hand Japanese car imports at the sea’s edge. It proposes reclamation that would transform the Waitemata from harbour to river, and insists ratepayers spend over $2 billion on new roading, rail and dredging.

        This for a port that barely makes money, never will, and which can’t possibly meet the imminent needs of shipping lines, exporters or importers.

        [snip – copyright material]

        [lprent: Don’t put full copies of copyright material on the site unless you have permission from the rights holder. Somehow I don’t think that you have. Normally I’d say link to it… I’ve cut it down to something that is acceptable use and explicitly made it clear that it is a quote. You just wasted some of my time. ]

        • KJT 6.1.1.1

          Auckland should be kept as a feeder port and Northport developed, as it is the only port capable of hubbing new generation container ships. Trend is towards much larger and more fuel efficient ships. Auckland could barely cope with the 41 hundreds, let alone the 8000 odd TEU ships which are becoming the standard size in international shipping.

          Not going to happen with the present fake competition between ports which will see NZ losing the hub to Port Botany. And the present Governments blindness to the value of extending Northport and rail and coastal shipping links.

          When oil is $300 a barrel we will be cursing the blindness and stupidity of our Governments.

          • Gosman 6.1.1.1.1

            Based on thre figures that Matthew Hooten gave wouldn’t you agree that it would be better for Auckland City council to downsize the ports operation and sell the land. Then they could use the funds released to get higher returns on something else. Of course I expect many lefties will not be happy with this because they will think it is privatisation by other means.

          • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.1.2

            When oil is $300 a barrel we will be cursing the blindness and stupidity of our Governments.

            I suggest the cursing will start long before then…for many driving will become history at $3.00-$3.50/L.

            $170 to fill an average 2L family car, anyone?

        • Gosman 6.1.1.2

          That is a very good article. It even has points that should appeal to many lefties here. The fact that a commercial enterprise is expecting the Ratepayers of Auckland to help fund their expansion plans and the impact these expansion plans will have on the environment in Auckland.

        • Gosman 6.1.1.3

          So really the best outcome for Auckland and the wider country would be for POAL to be essentially disbanded and the land sold off or at least the business seriously downsized. The Waterfront workers can get jobs at other ports such as Tauranga and Northport.

          • KJT 6.1.1.3.1

            No. The best outcome for NZ would be for POAL and Tauranga to be feeder ports to a hub at Northport. With the inland ports at Wiri and somewhere north of Auckland developed on rail links.

            Unfortunately the ideological model requires ports to crucify each other to “compete”.

            • Gosman 6.1.1.3.1.1

              As Matthew Hooten pointed out the best market solution would be for the Auckland City council to release the large amount of capital tied up in the POAL infrastructure and downsize. This could still mean there is a feeder port of some sort but at a reduced size to what is now there. What is stopping this is really political not commercial. If POAL was owned by private investors they would be looking at getting the most bang from their buck from their capital investment. The council thinks owning a port is important for political reasons.

              • KJT

                Owning a port is because having a port for our manufacturers and producers is essential for economic reasons.

                If it was owned by private investors it would have been sold for development and the cost of building a new port would have to be born by the public. Another privatisation of profits and socialisation of loses.

                Sydney is still arguing about the net benefit, of the huge cost of rebuilding the port at Botany. Just so the anti noise complainers in White Bay could get their way.

                The public spaces in Sydney are now rather boring, without the shipping.

              • KJT

                Mathew Hooten, I suspect, has absolutely no idea of the value of Auckland port to the Auckland region.

                The market does not carefully analyse the costs to the whole regional or national economy when it makes decisions. Just the short term gain for a few people.

                Neither does are current political leadership, but they should!

                You only have to look at Tauranga, which would still be a sleepy hollow for retired dairy farmers, without the port development. The port land is now worth much more because the port has made all land near it worth more.

                Auckland port adds to employment and industry in the region. Auckland land would be worth the same as in Huntly, if the port had never been there.

                • Gosman

                  “Auckland port adds to employment and industry in the region. Auckland land would be worth the same as in Huntly, if the port had never been there.”

                  The same is true of ANY city where the port was previously located in the CBD.

                  The question is whether there is a more effective return on capital if the major port operations are moved elsewhere and if doing so will have any impact on economic activity within Auckland.

                  • passwordprotect

                    Its not just an economic issue though is it?

                    There is a social benefit also regarding the liveablity of the city, ability to develop a proper water front quadrant, transport congestion etc etc

                    • Gosman

                      I agree, alhough those are far harder to quantify. Interesting that many leftist on this issue seem to be arguing about the wider economic impact rather than the social benefits of this move. Kind of a an interesting change in positions I think.

                    • KJT

                      No. Lefties have always been interested in the wider implications. Both social and economic.
                      RWNJ’s are only interested in their personal benefit. Even if it is often illusory as they try and identify with the successful.

              • Gosman, for a self-proclaimed Liberatarian, you take an awful lot of interest in other peoples’ affairs. Why is that? As a Libertarian, don’t you think that the issues between employees and employers are their business and not yours?

                • Gosman

                  That is a a silly statement to make Frank especially as I don’t reagrd myself as a hard core libertarian anyway but more a free market realist.

                  Even if I were what you mistakenly think I am that wouldn’t preclude me from expressing opinions about matters.

                  If you want to get an indication of where my political leanings lie the you should check out the editorial policy of The Economist newspaper. I tend to agree with them more often than not.

        • passwordprotect 6.1.1.4

          Good point – it was such a good article though!

          [lprent: It might have been (I didn’t have time to read it). I just don’t want the hassle of dealing with the inevitable blowbacks. It is a pity that Matthew doesn’t have a site that he puts up the slightly out of date articles up. Trotter does it, Colin James does it, etc. It would require that he built it into whatever arrangements he has with the publishers. ]

        • mickysavage 6.1.1.5

          But password protect
           
          Using your logic no port in a major city in the western world would operate as they could all be used for more lucrative purposes.  But these cities would then shut down under the flood of trucks having to import goods from far away places.
           
          It also ignores the economic benefits for the wider area that an accessible port has.
           
          Do not let a simplistic analysis based only on dollars determine Auckland’s future.

          • passwordprotect 6.1.1.5.1

            Completely agree the ‘choice’ of whether to move would need to take into account all the facts you mentioned economic and social

            No doubt as i mentioned above the Singapore Government examined similar issues when they decieded to relocate away from the central area

          • Gosman 6.1.1.5.2

            Your analysis ignores the evidence that NZ has too many ports and also that manufactures might have other reasons for basing themselves in Auckland other than a port being there.

            • KJT 6.1.1.5.2.1

              I suspect, not many, considering how much of their production heads for Christchurch.

              NZ does have too many ports trying to be import/export ports. Not enough for coastal trade, when energy prices double

          • Enough is Enough 6.1.1.5.3

            Most major cities don’t have their ports in the CBD:

            Sydney, London, New York, Hong Kong, Sigapore…

            • Gosman 6.1.1.5.3.1

              Any comment on this mickeysavage? Are all those places shut down as you think they would as a result of no port in the CBD?

              • KJT

                How much did the bailout of the city of London financial sector cost again.

                What about New York? The CBD is surrounded by the port.

                • Gosman

                  No it isn’t. The major port activity takes place about 12 – 18 km away from Manhatten Island.

                  • KJT

                    So I was imagining things when on a tanker upriver.

                    • Gosman

                      Do you disagree that the major port activity takes place outside the New York CBD?

                    • KJT

                      Yes. I do. There are berths all around Manhatten.

                      And yes the bulk of container wharves are downriver.

                      Break bulk, bulk tanker and gas berths all over the shop.

                      In fact going over the ports, almost every world port is as close as they can get to the CBD.

                      Source. lloyds. Ports of the world.

                  • KJT

                    In fact London is a good example. The main port was only moved as far down the River as Gravesend. As close as possible to the CBD with reasonable river depth.

                    If land values were the only criteria it would have been moved to the River month at somewhere like Leyden.

                    I doubt very much that POLTT makes a positive return on asset valuation, given land costs in London.

            • Te Reo Putake 6.1.1.5.3.2

              “Most major cities don’t have their ports in the CBD:
              Sydney, London, New York, Hong Kong, Sigapore…”
               
              Those five examples all have ports in their CBD.  (Apologies if I’ve missed an attmpt at humour, it’s a complex thread.)

              • Gosman

                We are discussing major containerised working ports. Not simply wharves where ships occassionally dock.

                It has been pointed out that Sydney moved it’s major containerised port to Botany bay recently, London lost theirs decades ago,New York’s main port will actually be in New Jersey, and Singapore is looking at moving theirs.

    • Colonial Viper 6.2

      You’re using positive popular feedback as a measure?

      Fine then front up and push for a full Auckland City referendum on the issue.

      • Gosman 6.2.1

        Why would he need to do that? He is obviously comfortable with what is currently happening in the POAL dispute. Pushing for referendums on matters like this only makes sense if you want to change the way things are going.

    • lprent 6.3

      Yes. It has a paywall.

      Kind of explains the positive response from the self selected audience.

      I gave up paying for the NBR long ago when the articles kept getting more and more doctrinaire, and containing less useful information.

    • Bunji 6.4

      I can’t be bothered paying just to read something I’ll disagree with, but after 4 days (2 strike, 2 lockout) the road and rail were log-jammed between Tauranga and Auckland. We can’t manage without the port, so I’m not sure what your proposal is.
      Sure Whangarei maybe should be a deep water port in the long-term (I’ve not looked at the issues up there), reducing the pressure (Auckland can’t keep expanding…), but we need Auckland port to have a functioning country currently.

      • KJT 6.4.1

        That is because a proper feeder service has never been developed.

        The only NZ service does not ship Auckland to Tauranga.
        Overseas ships only carry coastal cargo on a space available basis, when it suits them.

        • Mark 6.4.1.1

          So why doesn’t someone setup a new coastal shipping service.. ships must be cheap to lease at the moment, apparently with the expertise on the blog we could find the best management, seafarers, wharfies etc. It just requires some capital, hard work, and balls on the line. Any takers?

          • KJT 6.4.1.1.1

            Because NZ coastal shipping is presently struggling.

            The minimal 30 million that Labour offered for support was cancelled by National, who prefer to see the money paid to local shipping to go offshore.

            Overseas ships are allowed to cream of their MT space and operate effectively as coastal ships. Unlike almost every other first world country and many third world. (The equivalent of allowing unregistered truck driven by unlicensed foreign drivers on $1 an hour on our roads, without charging them local taxes, GST or compliance costs) The main local competitors, road and rail, are heavily subsidised.

            If there was a more even playing field, I would be starting one up myself.

      • Gosman 6.4.2

        Did you read the article that was posted above? It seems eminently sensible to me. What problems do you have with it?

        • KJT 6.4.2.1

          Valuing port land as if it was available for subdivision is stupid. It did not cost that much. so it is not that much of a cost on the port, who effectively got it for free.

          That is as dysfunctional as waterfront motor-camps having to sell up for subdivision because the councils rate them as if they had already been subdivided.

          You can say that there is an opportunity cost of using it for a port, but the cost to the region of not having, at least a feeder port, would be much greater. Than one off earnings from subdivision.

          • passwordprotect 6.4.2.1.1

            A fundamental tenant of valuation is what is the counterfactual or alternative use – in this case alternative use of the land the port utilises

            This was the driver behind all the dairy farm conversions a few years ago

            As the owner of an asset you need to consider if there a higher value use of the land – in which case you should sell to the higher owner

            What it cost you many moons ago is irrelevant from an economic perspective

            • KJT 6.4.2.1.1.1

              Yes,. Though It often ends though in a lose of value, as short term capital gains are preferred over the long term income.
              Like all the companies destroyed by asset strippers in the 80’s.

              What it costs the region not to have a port, over time, should also come into the equation.

              The port is why Auckland is there in the first place.

              The dairy farm conversions eventually may be as valueless as any other overpriced bubble “farming” capital gains.

              • Gosman

                What you fail to take into account is that the capital released from Asset stripping can be getting higher returns elsewhere. If the Auckland City council released the Billions in Assets sitting under the containers on the wharves and then invested this in something like Government bonds they would likely increase long term earnings from this from what they are receiving now. Hence instead of 25 million dollars per year they could get 50 million plus depending on the rate. 25 million dollars is a lot of social spending to forego wouldn’t you agree?

                • KJT

                  Not if the region loses 100’s of millions a year freighting by road to other ports.

                  The present congestion would be nothing in comparison.

                  • Gosman

                    That would all depend on where the manufacturing was based. I would suggest much of it would be on the peripheries of Auckland where transport issues within the city are not so great i.e. goods are going from the fringes of the city out rather than through. They currently have to go into the city anyway to get to the port so you would lose this congestion cause.

                    • Mark

                      I agree.. there is very little devanning done anywhere near the CBD, so we have a doubling up of traffic.. containers out, curtainsiders etc back in. I would imagine that the value of the land may well pay for extensive rail upgrade within auckland, and up north, plus ferry terminal upgrades, etc, etc. Feeder services could come in to a smaller port from Tga. reconstruction would create big employment.. along with the big roading projects about to start. We could have more green spaces, access to the water, mixed  housing models..

              • passwordprotect

                Somethimes the altenerative use may turn out to be worse but its still the best estimate at that time….

                Of course Auckland needs a port, but ideally in a different location or downsized

                PS: as an aside Singapore Port is currently in the process of moving for the exact reasons i gave above. The alternative use of land is greater. Would be a good case study for Auckland

                I suspect given world wide trends in dairy consumptions that long terms farm conversions will be a winner….they creaming [sic] it at the moment

                • KJT

                  They are not actually. Many dairy farms do not meet their cost of capital. Farmers are relying on capital gains to make their money.

                  That is why existing farmers like to be able to sell to the Chinese.

                  • passwordprotect

                    Capital gains a component of overall return…so even if you right its irrelevant

                    And at current milk prices (and forecast milk prices) I can assure you the vast majority of farmers are doing very very well

                    • KJT

                      Why do they average less than $3000 a year in income tax then.

                    • passwordprotect

                      In reply to below…

                      “Why do they average less than $3000 a year in income tax then.”

                      In certain years they do – in other years with high milk prices they pay a lot lot more.

                      The last time i looked at the stats the average tax was around 30k a year over the last 10 of so years. I will try and dig out an independent source

                      Also as you well aware tax paid doesnt (but should) correlate well with true profit earned (look at the wealthy in the US for example)

                      At a milk price of 7.00 per kgms farmers do well…

                    • KJT

                      That was in the good years.

                      In the latest, so called, bad year, they averaged $1400.

                      You can get the stats from the IRD or the MSD.

                    • passwordprotect

                      http://www.dairynz.co.nz/news/pageid/2145870964

                      Average is 28k similar to my 30k estimate

                    • passwordprotect

                      That being said i agree that farmers not paying enough tax!

                    • Gosman

                      Obviously you can’t trust those dirty dairy farmers. I mean most of them probably vote National. They are all liars and we should believe the figures presented by KJT as the sole source of the truth.

                    • passwordprotect

                      That reminds me – i was dating a girl from a farming family a while back and was invited to a BBQ on the farm

                      The dad asked me in front of 20+ people (all farmers) “So XXXX who do you vote for and why?”

                      He looked almightly relieved that I didnt say labour – i would have been lynched if I had said greens

                      I didnt mention that i actually did vote labour when i was at University (labour girls are hotter – at least in their 20’s)

                    • KJT

                      The averages are from the IRD website.

                      Don’t you believe them also.

              • Gosman

                London is also there because it was the highest navigatable place on the Thames. It is no longer a major working port. Yet they have converted the former dock areas into an attractive business district which has revitalised the surrounding area. Please tell me why the situation in London is in any way different to Auckland?

                • passwordprotect

                  Because the unions in the UK have already been crushed but those in NZ still have some residual signs of life.

                • KJT

                  Water is not deep enough for modern ships at the old London docks.

                  The cost of dredging and rebuilding the docks in place was much more than building further down the River.

          • Gosman 6.4.2.1.2

            As Matthew Hooten pointed out the costs involved in not having a port would likely be low. The container terminal is a terrible eyesore in the middle of Auckland and cuts off a large part of the waterfront from use by the wider population. If you want to encourage a more people friendly city changing what the waterfront is used for is a key part of this. On top of this having a working container port in the heart of the city increases congestion on the roads and railways which the cost of managing, as Matthew Hooten stated, is then passed on to the public.

            • KJT 6.4.2.1.2.1

              Matthew Hooten has no idea of the costs of not having a port.

              One coastal ship carries 1000 containers a week through Auckland from city manufacturers and producers.
              At least as many more are carried to coastal ports by overseas ships. When fuel becomes much more expensive this will triple.

              POAL would still be needed to feed Tauranga and Northport.

              As we have seen recently, road and rail carrying all that cargo, plus import and export cargo, from the city, North and South, would be impossible.

              • Gosman

                What is the cost of London not being a working port anymore KJT? Is London worse off from not having the Docklands being the main port for the city?

                • KJT

                  Docklands could never have been made into a reasonable modern port. London long ago abandoned manufacturing for finance. The new container berths, like Port Botany, are much handier to the users.

                  Unfortunately Waiheke channel and Onehunga are too shallow to be ports or we could move POAL to South Auckland. The equivalent of shifting Sydney to Botany.

                  I do not totally disagree though. Some of Auckland Port would be better utilised as public space and for inner city housing.

                  It should be downsized to a feeder port, maybe at the present Ferguson terminal only.

                  Totally removing the port would have a much bigger impact on Auckland’s success than you realise.

                  Auckland is still the centre of NZ manufacturing. The high value added products we need to escape from being a commodity price taker.

                  • Gosman

                    I have no problem with there being some port features still in Auckland but the port should seriously downsize. You essentially agree with this it seems. So instead of wasting time on this irrelevant petition around the industrial dispute people should be placing pressure on the Auckland City Council to release their capital from the port so that it can be better used and the city benefit from having a reduced working port footprint.

                    • Gosman you have no idea what is the appropriate size for Auckland’s port or the traffic effects of downsizing yet you are utterly convinced that it should be downsized.
                       
                      Do you always have such strong opinions when you don’t have all the facts?

                    • Gosman

                      Are you going to address any of the points that Matthew Hooten raised mickeysavage?

                    • Good way to not respond to my question.
                       
                      In any event I did above.
                       
                      I said:
                       
                      But password protect
                       
                      Using your logic no port in a major city in the western world would operate as they could all be used for more lucrative purposes.  But these cities would then shut down under the flood of trucks having to import goods from far away places.
                       
                      It also ignores the economic benefits for the wider area that an accessible port has.
                       
                      Do not let a simplistic analysis based only on dollars determine Auckland’s future.

                    • Gosman

                      London and other major cities seem to operate quite well despite not having a major port in the heart of the city anymore. They certainly aren’t shut down. Your position therefore seems to fly in the face of the evidence.

                    • Gosman

                      By the way the economic trend around the world is exactly what Matthew Hooten is suggesting here. Port operations are consolidating in areas away from major urban areas where land is both available and cheaper. Cities that were previously major hubs for sea born commerce are now no longer. This doesn’t diminsh economic activity in the city overall I would suggest. You seem to think it does. What evidence do you have for this view?

                • muzza

                  Ever lived in London dick head – You like to use examples of places you know nothing about, other than what you get from wikipedia!

                  London is a services hub, and decided to move away from real productivity a very long time ago, and turned the dockland area into the now failing bankers capital of Europe! – They use ports in other parts of the country to service the real productivity for exports/imports etc….

                  Your question is irrelevant, just like you!

                  • Gosman

                    I lived and worked in London for four years including working in the Docklands.

                    If Tauranga and Northport can offer a more efficient port service then it doesn’t matter where the manufacturers of Auckland send their produce.

                    • muzza

                      Was that during your “derivative” days Gossie?

                      Also you seem to assume that Auckland people will by default benefit from any land released in the ports area, which is to say that you assume the area will become public space useable by all, should the ” land release” your capitalistic brain so badly craves come to fruition!

                      Shame you came back to NZ Gossie, the place has enough dick heads already. Was the 4 years the grandparents ancestory, or could you just not cut it over there!

                    • Gosman

                      The Docklands have lots of privately owned properties yet it also has lots of public spaces. Do you not acknowledge that the two can go hand in hand?

                      I only spent 4 years in London. I spent longer in the UK.

                  • Gosman

                    It is quite incorrect to imply that London has moved away from manufacturing completely. It is still a significant contibutor to the local economy.

                    “While recent decades have seen a decrease in manufacturing and production, this industry still employs a significant percentage of London’s workforce, accounting for around 11 percent of London’s GDP and 8 percent of the UK’s manufacturing output.”

                    http://www.usatoday.com/marketplace/ibi/london.htm

                • lprent

                  What is the cost of London not being a working port anymore

                  It isn’t like they had a lot of choice. The cost may have been high. The cost of keeping it was even higher.

                  Having a port on a river is a major exercise in dredging and getting steadily more uneconomic as the size of the container vessels keeps increasing. The Thames is a dinky river compared to the few rivers in the world that are still navigable by current container vessels.

                  Why don’t you pick a argument that doesn’t sound quite as stupid as that one.

                  • Gosman

                    Dredging is a problem for Auckland as well if it is correct that the POAL are wanting the council to spend millions on that.

                    The point about London is that the city is not worse off without having a working port and, I would argue, is better off without one.

                    If other ports can do the same job at a cheaper rate then manufacturers can still base themselves in the Auckland region and send their products via the sea from these more efficient ports.

                    I think someone has made a similar point about Singapore moving their major port operations away from the CBD for the same sort of reasons.

                    • lprent

                      There is a several of orders of magnitude difference between trying to dredge a sediment laden river and dredging a harbour that has no major river feeding into it and isn’t a shallow enclosed harbour.

                      If you were talking about the Manakau harbour which is a large shallow enclosed harbour then it might have been possible to argue that there is a general similarity. It takes considerably more effort to keep a deepwater channel open there, and that is why Auckland doesn’t use it for anything apart from shallow draft coastal shipping.

                      The Waitemata harbour is a relatively open harbour with reasonably small offshore islands. There are no major sediment flows into the harbour like a river draining hundreds of kilometres of hinterland. Once something gets dredged there then takes quite a while before it requires much more work. The only thing is that you do have to clear the channels every few decades. There are no harbours that don’t require that.

                      Tauranga harbour has far more of an issue with dredging because of the type of harbour it is. Try looking at their dredging bills. I’d anticipate that it is very very frequent.

                      Nope – looks like a stupid strawman argument to me. I guess you think so as well based on the sidetracking you did away from my point in your reply.

                    • Gosman

                      I also responded to your point by stating it isn’t just London where port activity is moved to a location away from the CBD.

                      You haven’t addressed the issue that economic activity can continue without a working port in the middle of the city or even that close by.

                    • lprent

                      I wasn’t interested in what your alternative argument was.

                      I was correcting some of your daft ideas about the physical factor underlying the economic changes that increased the operating costs of the docks in London to the point that they weren’t getting the traffic to sustain them.

                      It was pretty simple. It was a river port. There aren’t many of them left in the world that still have modern contain ships for exactly the same reason.

                      Auckland has no such similar problem on the Waitemata.

                      I suspect that the move of many ports these days are done for similar physical reasons (including Singapore from memory). They didn’t move away from their original location for any other reason other than physical access for the larger ships. A couple of other cases I know of they moved because they didn’t have enough land area to put in a rail hub (I think that is what is going to happen for one of the US west coast ports – Sane Deigo?) or that there wasn’t enough room to park containers.

                      I don’t recall ever seeing one move because it was in the CBD of a city. They are usually shutdown because they become uneconomic for physical reasons or sometimes because trade routes moved (much less common these days).

                      BTW: There are some excellent books about ports around running back through the history and the economic/physical back-basis for them. You should read one.

                    • Gosman

                      Hamburg is one of the largest ports in Europe and is a river port. It could be argued that Rotterdam is also a River port.

                    • KJT

                      If you cannot understand the difference between the cost of a port on a shallow tidal river, the Thames and on a much bigger river, the Hudson and Maas etc then how can you figure out the value of moving ports around.

                    • Gosman

                      I’m sorry but did lprent mention river ports or shallow tidal river ports?

                      I understand the point he was making but it is essentially a distraction from the main thrust of this discussion. As is your rather pointless comment.

    • All I saw was an ad for a Mini Cooper S. Nice car, but I prefer the 1960s/70s versions.

      So I can’t comment on what you wrote, Mathew.

      However, perheps I can refer readers to these NBR articles?

      “Ports of Auckland profits hold steady”
      http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/ports-auckland-profits-hold-steady-mn-99551

      “Increased traffic at Ports of Auckland”
      http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/increased-traffic-ports-auckland-131343

      “Imports drive Ports of Auckland profit higher”
      http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/imports-drive-ports-auckland-profit-higher-128397

      By all acounts, it appears to be a profitable enterprise?

      So profitable, in fact, that some free marketeers are eyeing up these assets with an apetite for their profits,

      “Plea for ratepayers to give up port control”
      http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/plea-ratepayers-give-port-control-128331

      • Gosman 6.5.1

        Quite incorrect Frank.

        If you were able to read the article, (possible when it was posted here in it’s entirety for a short period), you will have seen Matthew make the point that the profit is actually a very poor return on equity. Probably in the vicinity of 1.3%, if not less. The Council would earn more just by selling the port and investing the funds in Government bonds.

        • Colonial Viper 6.5.1.1

          Meh. Sure the Council would make more, if it didnt take into account the billions lost from the Auckland economy from not having a local port.

          • Gosman 6.5.1.1.1

            Why would it lose billions? You are making a rather large assumption there.

            • Colonial Viper 6.5.1.1.1.1

              Nah mate its the costs to a major coastal city not having its own port. The loss of head offices, import/export businesses, increase freight costs for Auckland manufacturers. It would be a disaster.

              • Gosman

                You assume there would be increased freight costs. If other ports become more efficient and transport times from Auckland to the more efficient ports are not too different then it might be more economical to produce the items in Auckland and ship them via the other ports. Certainly a factory in South Auckland is likely to have Transport delays sending goods through to the CBD.

                You also assume that the CBD port is the bext location for a port operation even within the Auckland area. As stated many major cities around the world are setting up container terminals away from the CBD. Some of these are many kilometers away.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Meh. Increased freight costs are the way of the near future Gosman. Didn’t you see the stats? POAL is doing better than ever mate. Except for the greedy executive team.

                  • Gosman

                    A 1.3% return on equity is doing better than ever is it? If you think that then I have an investment opportunity you might be interested in…

                    • HELP HELP …

                      Gosman there is a return on investment and wider benefits such as having a transport hub which generates wider economic benefits and also reduces congestion.  Your myopic view would see the wider benefits trashed because the return is not good enough.  It is a very silly view.  Please stop continuously posting it.

                    • Gosman

                      You’ve given no explanation why not having a major port in Auckland will cause conjestion to increase within the city, (I think it is likely to go down as goods no longer have to go to and from the CBD area), or why suddenly not having a major port is going to cause economic issues for Auckland businesses.

                      As I stated if they can export or import their goods cheaper from Northport or Tauranga then it has little to no effect at all. All you have really stated is that the issue is a complex one. I agree, that is why I think you should join the position of KJT and myself and support this option being investigated.

                      Think of the benefit to Aucklanders lifestyle by freeing up the huge amount of waterfront real estate this would lead to. Surely you don’t just want to place purely economic factors above social ones do you mickeysavage?

                    • You’ve given no explanation why not having a major port in Auckland will cause conjestion to increase within the city, (I think it is likely to go down as goods no longer have to go to and from the CBD area), or why suddenly not having a major port is going to cause economic issues for Auckland businesses.

                      And you don’t either.  Neither of us know although the performance of the transport network when the last strike was on suggests the transport effect will be significant.  And don’t let me even start on the economic benefits.  Have you asked any businesses if they will be adversely affected if the port is closed?  But neither of us know for sure yet you then leap to the conclusion that you are right and I am wrong.  This is either really stupid or intellectually dishonest.

                      As I stated if they can export or import their goods cheaper from Northport or Tauranga then it has little to no effect at all. All you have really stated is that the issue is a complex one. I agree, that is why I think you should join the position of KJT and myself and support this option being investigated.

                      You have not.  You have advocated closing the port because the return is not good enough.

                      Think of the benefit to Aucklanders lifestyle by freeing up the huge amount of waterfront real estate this would lead to. Surely you don’t just want to place purely economic factors above social ones do you
                      mickeysavage?

                      Possibly but this post is all about how the port is actually functioning well.  But you have set out to disrupt and destroy the argument.  You are a troll. 

                    • Gosman

                      Incorrect mickeysavage. I mentioned to KJT that it is good that he agrees with me that this option is worthy of further investigation. I can’t help it if you are not following the debate.

                    • Gosman

                      I’m also curious about how you can make the claim that the Port is doing well when you are also claiming that it is not it’s financial performance that is important but it’s effect on the wider economy of Auckland. Has this been quantified? Has the Auckland Port improved economic activity within the Auckland region at an increased rate over the past few yeats? Where is your evidence for this mickeysavage? Wouldn’t you agree that losing two major customers might have reduced economic activity?

                    • Gossie you fibber.  You have been advocating for downsizing the port all along and only now are sort of agreeing with me that the situation is more complex than a simple return of capital. 
                       
                      See Hooton originally said this:
                       

                      Wrong. The port should be closed. Here’s why …

                       
                      You then said this:
                       

                      So really the best outcome for Auckland and the wider country would be for POAL to be essentially disbanded and the land sold off or at least the business seriously downsized. The Waterfront workers can get jobs at other ports such as Tauranga and Northport.

                      And this:

                      As Matthew Hooten pointed out the best market solution would be for the Auckland City council to release the large amount of capital tied up in the POAL infrastructure and downsize.

                      Oh look and this:

                      Did you read the article that was posted above? It seems eminently sensible to me. What problems do you have with it?

                      Not to mention this:

                      What you fail to take into account is that the capital released from Asset stripping can be getting higher returns elsewhere. If the Auckland City council released the Billions in Assets sitting under the containers on the wharves and then invested this in something like Government bonds they would likely increase long term earnings from this from what they are receiving now. Hence instead of 25 million dollars per year they could get 50 million plus depending on the rate. 25 million dollars is a lot of social spending to forego wouldn’t you agree?

                      And this:

                      If you were able to read the article, (possible when it was posted here in it’s entirety for a short period), you will have seen Matthew make the point that the profit is actually a very poor return on equity. Probably in the vicinity of 1.3%, if not less. The Council would earn more just by selling the port and investing the funds in Government bonds.

                      And now you say you don’t want to sell but just investigate.

                      You fibber. 
                       

                       

                    • Gosman

                      Of course to me it does seem an eminently sensible and most market based solution. That is different for saying there are no other factors to take into account.

                      The trouble with you mickeysavage is you aren’t even bothering to quantify these other benefits. You just assume they exist. They might do, or they might not.

                      I have given an example of a Major city without a major port within it’s boundaries and also of cities where they have moved their main port operations out of the CBD.

                      All you have done is claimed that there will be economic doom for Auckland if there is no port and tried to claim that people are pushing for this change to happen overnight. You have no evidence for this view I suggest.

                    • Gosman

                      BTW I’m curious about your position on Compulsory Unionism being made Labour Party policy again. You seemed in favour of the principle when it was discussed a few days ago but never answered by question on whether you think it should be made policy.

                    • Now you are trolling gossie
                       
                      Of course to me it does seem an eminently sensible and most market based solution. That is different for saying there are no other factors to take into account.
                      The trouble with you mickeysavage is you aren’t even bothering to quantify these other benefits. You just assume they exist. They might do, or they might not.
                       
                      Read all of your above comments where you advocate for the sale of POAL because the return on capital is poor.  You are clearly the one not worrying about these other benefits.  As you agree they might exist your enthusiasm to wreck the Port and disregard them is a bit weird, doncha think?

                    • Gosman

                      My primary interest is in market based solutions to issues mickeysavage. I explained the reasons why I agree with Matthew Hooten, (remember it was him who brought this up here). In my mind , (remember I am allowed an opinion on the matter mickeysavage no matter what some leftists think about muzzling opposing viewpoints), it makes sense and will make Auckland more livable and reduce conjestion.

                      You, (amongst others), then brought up possible wider economic costs of doing this. However you never quantified them or even explained the logic behind your thinking. It would be like me stating that implementing a Capital gains tax has a wider economic cost but then not bothering to state what they are.

                      If you think there are wider economic implications perhaps you can explain what they are instead of making gross assumptions that removing the port from the CBD will have an overall net negative impact.

                    • Gosman

                      By the way mickeysavage you missed my post yesterday where I stated the following

                      “The question is whether there is a more effective return on capital if the major port operations are moved elsewhere and if doing so will have any impact on economic activity within Auckland.”

                      That seems to cover your objections to my position so they are once again unfounded in fact.

                    • My last comment Gos, after this I give up.

                      There have been significant efforts to quantify the wider economic benefits.  I knew about these, I just wanted you to dig yourself into a hole and boy you kept digging.  You could look at this report which POAL commissioned. 

                      The benefits included:

                      Total direct output of $207.6 million per year.

                       Direct value added to the Auckland economy of $109.1 million, sustaining 652 jobs (ECs, or “employment count‟) annually.

                       Flow-on effects from direct value added that generate a further $138.5 million in value added and 1,375 ECs of additional employment, through indirect and induced impacts.

                       The total impact of port activities on the Auckland economy is $247.6 million in value added, or 2,027 employees. 

                      This makes no allowance whatsoever for the transport implications which I suspect would be significant.

                      But go ahead, advocate for the closing of the port without having the slightest clue of the implications.

                      BTW I would prefer for the union movement to be strengthened.  There is a correlation between union strength and wages and conditions.

                    • Gosman

                      Excellent. This is a good starting point. Even given the fact that this is a POAL document and is obviously framed to produce the highest possible benefit from the port operations we can look to see if the potential benefits of having a major port located in the CBD outweigh the negatives. Remember we are not claiming that no port would exist within the Auckland area just that one in the heart of the CBD is potentially not necessary from an economic and social point of view. The other thing we could be taking into account is the wider economic benefit to NZ as a whole from this approach. However that shouldn’t be the Auckland City councils concern.

  7. just saying 7

    Excellent post Bunji

    Happy to pay $480/container in Australia, the international shipping companies aim for prices of $210-$220 in NZ as they play the Ports off against each other, and we build ever more infrastructure to try and compete. Those low prices mean the incredible productivity our workers are achieving is merely resulting in big profits for foreign shipping giants – like Maersk, who have provided the last 2 Ports of Auckland CEOs.

    These two points need to be emphasised imo. They are an important part of the picture.

    The public are being made fools of. The extra pound of flesh extracted by privatisation is coming from them, their whanau, friends, and communities, every single time.

    If there was a profit problem that needed to be solved, it started when Tauranga sold its ports and opened up all NZ ports and the people who own them, as well as the workers and their families, to being played like chumps.

    As the song goes ‘If we tolerate this…..’

    • KJT 7.1

      Not only that, but they charge twice as much from Singapore to Auckland as they do Singapore to Sydney, despite the costs of running to Australian port being much greater and the additional icing on the cake of being able to cream off NZ coastal cargo. Something Australia does not easily allow.

      Mearsk is playing us for fools. Whats next. Tauranga casuals on $13.50 and hour to compete with Auckland?

      The reduced port costs have certainly not been passed on to NZ owned coastal shipping. What’s left of it!

    • newsense 7.2

      and…

      “A leaked report showed that the Port’s management have set aside $9 million to have this dispute, and another $9 million will be needed for redundancies. They have hired a PR company, lawyers and 3 negotiating contractors to spend our dime, attacking the workers who only last September they were celebrating for breaking productivity records.”

      How is this not a scandal? $9 million on PR? could have saved some cash there…

  8. Twenty five comments so far and eight of them are by Gosman.
     
    You aren’t carpet bombing the thread are you?

    • McFlock 8.1

      And his input on the outliers/inequality thread has almost dried up – he’s spent all morning on PoAL. 
       
      Curious. An almost complete attention refocus, like some impulse-driven goldfish.

  9. Gosman 9

    I think Matthew Hooten’s suggestion has got the lefties stumped. All we have is KJT floundering around trying to make some connection with failed dairy conversions and making statements such as Auckland needs a working port. Not only will Matthew’s suggestion release a huge amount of capital for the Auckland City council to spend on maybe a Rail link it would reduce congestion on the roads and make the City more attractive to live in. It would also reduce the problem of ports competiting with one another for business as one less major port will increase the bargaining power of the other ports. Where is the negative in this other than for the Waterfront workers having to move to another location if they still wanted a job?

    • KJT 9.1

      Don’t you get cost benefit analysis.

      Of course the “Market” will fix everything!

      Are you “relaxed about that”.

    • This is getting silly Gosman.
       
      Tell you what.  There is another bit of land downtown which develops no income yet is prime real estate.  Using your simplistic analysis it should also be sold and redeveloped.  A huge amount of capital will be released.  It will completely eliminate congestion from the area itself.
       
      The answer is to shut down Quay Street and sell off the land.
       
      Of course the city will then gridlock but so what.  The financial return will go through the roof.
       
      And saying that a port in London has been shut down so Auckland should therefore as well is just silly.
       
      You need to assess the needs and structure of a city before doing this.
       
      And environment and beautification are important.  But to say the harbour will be more beautiful therefore we are going to shut the port down is again silly.

      • Gosman 9.2.1

        You aren’t really addressing any of the points raised though.

        You state a port in the CBD, or even in the greater Auckland area, is vital to the economic well being of the city, (interesting to note that a lefty like you is placing economic issues first for a change), however you don’t put forward a compelling case for WHY it is.

        If I’m an importer and I can get goods to my distribution center in South Auckland from Tauranga in the same time and at a similar, or even lower cost, than from Auckland port then what does it matter?

        If I’m an exporter and I can get goods shipped from my factory in Henderson out to Northport at a a similar, or even lower cost, than from Auckland port then what does it matter?

        In both these cases the transport congestion is flowing away and not through the city.

        Where is your economic downside mickeysavage?

        • KJT 9.2.1.1

          I think we have addressed them sufficiently. Try reading!

          • Gosman 9.2.1.1.1

            Sorry but where exactly?

            You agreed with me that Auckland could afford to downsize it’s port operation mainly for coastal shipping. To try and argue my points have be dealt with when you essentially agree with my position is a bit rich.

            • KJT 9.2.1.1.1.1

              I said there may be benefits in downsizing to a coastal port and using Northport as a hub.

              That is from my own knowledge as someone whose job is shipping.

              There is a difference from the argument that the port should go because of a short term profit from the land.

              I would also argue that a careful cost benefit analysis be made of any options first. Not just the financial advantages, if any, but social and environmental ones.. What would best serve the long term interests of the region and the country. And any analysis should not be made by an accounting firm whose clients will benefit by privatisation.

              Shipping is going to be a much more important part of the supply chain as energy prices inevitably rise.

              Your position, Gosman, is always from the ideological right. And your arguments tend to be circular.

              • Gosman

                Good to see you at least acknowledging that there is the possibility of some merit in this idea and that it warrents further investigation. Now if only the wider left was as open to change as you.

                • KJT

                  The wider left are equally as open to evidence based change.

                  It is the right that have the religious belief in “the market”.

                  Note though. I advocate looking at overall benefits, not letting the market decide, which is what you are advocating.

                  The market decides for those with the money and control, not the community.

                  That is where we differ.

        • mickysavage 9.2.1.2

          OK click your fingers and make it start from tomorrow.
           
          You have no comprehension of the cost of moving POAL.
           
          You have no idea of the ability of Auckland’s network to handle a change to a significant entry of cargo.  You have no understanding of Auckland City’s infrastructure.
           
          Yet you have formed a strong conclusion and keep lecturing us on it.
           
          Weird.

          • Gosman 9.2.1.2.1

            Did I, or anyone else, claim that this should be done overnight? Why bring up this strawman argument?

            I think the discussion is about Auckland moving away from having a major port in the CBD and releasing capital from the expensive assets of the port company for other investments by the
            Council. Noone but you seems to think this is going to be an overnight process.

            Now what exactly is your objection to this again? Something to do with the economic cost to Auckland wasn’t it?

            • McFlock 9.2.1.2.1.1

              Once again gos has a comprehension fail.
               

              MS, you KNOW gos can’t handle abstract thought! And he even has difficulty with literal descriptions of the real world..

              • Gosman

                Care to explain how mickeysavage’s strawman argument is really an example of abstract thinking.

                • McFlock

                  “OK click your fingers and make it start from tomorrow.”
                    
                  Thoroughly explained here, Gooslander

                  • Gosman

                    Your point being what exactly? That mickeysavage wasn’t really stating that the POAL would be moved overnight? I know that. This is why it is a strawman argument because noone was talking about changing things immediately so why bother even bringing it up other than to try and argue that the matter is complex.We know the matter is complex. The solution seems pretty simple though.

                    • McFlock

                      the point being, as MS put it, that you have formed a strong opinion that, as I shall put it, you are berating us with. But once again you have no idea what you’re talking about.

                       If you were put in charge of the change and could do whatever you wanted immediately, you’d have no idea about the costs involved or how to managed the associated infrastructure.
                       
                      But then you’ve never been one to let complete ignorance get in the way of passionate belief, is my suspicion.

                    • Gosman

                      Why would they put me in charge of this change? This is just another strawman argument. It would be like me stating that they wouldn’t put you in charge of managing the implementation of a Capital gains tax therefore the Capital gains tax is a bad idea.

                    • McFlock

                      \facepalm
                           
                      Gos, they’d put you in charge because you think “straw man” means “hypothetical”. 
                        
                      You really should stop using words and concepts that are bigger than you can handle.

                    • Gosman

                      You mean like the facepalm I’m having on your claim that you can’t include locations in an Epidemiology study if they have less than 3 million people living in them.

                      Not quite the same I think.

                      [lprent: Isn’t that a rather boring discussion for a different post? Take it there or to OpenMike. ]

                    • McFlock

                      not quite what I said, either. Like I say, get your imaginary epidemiologist to go through TSL methodologies and the basics of statistical inference and population size.

                      [lprent: Isn’t that a rather boring discussion for a different post? Take it there or to OpenMike. ]

                    • Gosman

                      Pretty much your point was that there is some sort of cut off in terms of population in the realm of 3 million people when comparing different countries in Epidemiology. This is pure and utter nonsense.

                      [lprent: Isn’t that a rather boring discussion for a different post? Take it there or to OpenMike. ]

                    • McFlock

                      No, that was me saying what statistical purpose the authors of the Spirit Level would probably have had in mind when they adopted the <3million population cut. 
                       
                      You thought I made up the 3 million figure because you didn’t read your own source, which quoted W+P in plain english.

                • Gos I started to write a response but I then decided you have to be trolling.
                   
                  Well done though.  You have destroyed the thread.  We are way off point.  You have raised a series of bizarre frankly weird points.  I am not sure if you are deliberately trolling or actually believe what you type.

                  • Gosman

                    It wasn’t me who brought this into the debate. It was Matthew Hooten. I was merely taking the points he raised and expanded upon them. This is no different to someone arguing that efficiencies in the running of the ports aren’t the problem. It is the cost of shipping that is out of wack.

                    • “It wasn’t me who brought this into the debate. It was Matthew Hooten.”

                      ???

                      Mathew didn’t raise any points. He linked to a pay-walled article.

                      Ipso facto, you raised the points, not he.

                    • Gosman

                      You missed the bit where the entire article was posted Frank. Not by me either. lprent eventually removed it and just had the start of the article but it was there in all it’s glory for a good hour or so.

  10. Wharfie 10

    Ports of Auckland puts millions of dollars back into infrastructure Auckland,there by allowing our council to have a huge financial base to draw upon without rate payers taking the brunt.The case for a Port in Auckland or not in Auckland is non sensicle as a vibrant Port sustains hundreds of thousand of jobs in Auckland.If you look at Sydney and what happened when the port was moved to New Castle,thousands of businesses shut up shop and moved,unemployment rose dramatically.

    People need to stop harping on about the Labour Party and their silence.This is not their dispute it is about attacks on our members and working families.We know they are there to support when asked.It amazes me the amount of narrow minded thinking by people uninvolved directly in the dispute who have formed opinions that the union is the bad boy here.

    The Port of Auckland refuses to negotiate in any shape or form unless it is to agree to the casual document they have tabled.I can’t understand how they can justify the huge expenditure of rate payers returns to smash and bash the employees.

    Our campaign is gathering momentum and the tide is slowly turning.I have the same questions posed to me daily by the wharfies and they are simple:
    1/ Why don’t you respect the huge investment I make on your behalf with my time 365 days 24/7?
    2/why can’t I trust you to secure my future?

    This is not going to be an easy fix but one of our mottos is NO SURRENDER!

  11. shorts 11

    kia kaha Wharfie

    • Wharfie 11.1

      Thankyou Shorts we need all the support we can get this has the domino effect that if lost working class New Zealanders will have a diminished voice in the workplace

      • Jum 11.1.1

        Wharfie, MickySavage and Shorts,

        I’ll be there. So should every New Zealander that finally understands that the stronger Unions are all that stand between them and no rights at all.

        Globally, the same story is unfolding – all over America, e.g., the place that we are constantly being told is a wealthy country – yet the stories of the workers are not of wealth, but rather of penury, loss of dignity and deliberate and systematic removal of their working rights.

        This is their frontman John Key’s plan for New Zealand workers. Let’s not allow him to succeed.

  12. Jum 12

    re: Matthew Hooton 6
    9 February 2012 at 8:13 am

    When the slithery one speaks, his misleading dirty tricks are always paid for by others that stand to benefit from our loss.

    It means the ‘others’ are rattled.

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