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The real agenda at PoAL?

Written By: - Date published: 2:27 pm, March 25th, 2012 - 15 comments
Categories: uncategorized - Tags: ,

It seems from the actions of PoAL this week that the management are either nuts or there is an ulterior motive to the dispute.

What we do know is there is no strike notice or lockout currently in place, the union members want to return to work and bargain in good faith and the management aren’t allowing them back on the job.

It is apparent that the supply chain is choked and the port is working at severely reduced capacity and there is a lock out in 10 days.
When I heard the workers were lifting the strike notice on Thursday I thought it was a bad strategic move because that would allow some relief to the pressure on the supply chain before the lockout coming into force. I thought that PoAL would have jumped at the chance for some relief but then disputes aren’t always as they seem.

So why aren’t they back?

I think that the Pearson is under instruction to privatise the port.

Pearson was Hutchisons Port Holdings’ man when they attempted a joint-takeover the Port of Lyttelton in 2006. Hutchinson Port Holdings is owned by Li Ka-Ching and Pearson has held senior management and board positions on many of Ka-Ching’s companies. He is a trusted lieutenant and is known to get things his own way. There are many capitalists, including Li Ka-Ching, lining up to get their hands on New Zealand’s state owned enterprises as they come onto the block.

They will be able to turn a quick buck once they have restructured the operation, reduced pay rates and eliminated “bureaucracy”.

Pearson, Gibson and Impey are steering PoAL into a death spiral to force privatisation so they can get their grubby hands on a cheap deal. Kill the business, force Auckland Council to put it on the block and then Ka-Ching buys it on the cheap and KA-CHING big profit!

– SC

15 comments on “The real agenda at PoAL? ”

  1. muzza 1

    This email from Christine Fletcher…the one below that a reply to CF from Mike Lee

    I believe that there are two stages to the current situation.

    Firstly return the port to profitability and put in place whatever measures are required to maximise the value of this ratepayer business that is so critical to the economic growth of Auckland and employment for Aucklanders. The council have been advised by the board of the port that there will need to be an improvement to the organisational structure and greater labour market flexibility. There needs to be a step change in customer service and productivity levels if the Port is going to be competitive in a difficult market.

    Only when this has been achieved we should seriously and carefully consider the best structure for the Port. It is premature to suggest what is the right structure at this stage but I have long personally believed that having an investment partner with council for the commercial operation of the port could be a workable possibility.

    For the record I have never suggested nor would I support privatisation of the total commercial business of port and I would not support the sale of port land which is strategic to the development of Auckland.


    Chris Fletcher


    Thats nonsense Christine – you are deliberately or through ignorance confusing the current dispute with the issue of ownership – which is quite another matter. You claim the port needs to be ‘returned to profit’ – this is either ignorant ( read your agenda) or the propagation of a deliberate political lie. The port is profitable – and relatively efficient (compared to other regional ports such as Botany Bay and Melbourne).
    That being said It could be and needs to be more efficient and more profitable.
    Talking about selling the port business and keeping the land is politically fraudulent. Virtually all the publicly valuable port land eg Westhaven, Britomart Quarter, Wynyard Quarter,
    Queens Wharf has been transferred out
    of POAL by the ARC (Wynyard Quarter which has enabled the current ongoing development), purchased by Auckland City Council, Westhaven, Halsey Street Wharf, harbour Park (by bridge) Teal Park) or purchased from POAL jointly by ARC and Government (Queens Wharf). The ‘land’ remaining is the reclaimed rubble laying half a metre under the tarmac upon which is located all the incredibly valuable cranes and infrastructure you want to sell. This asset belongs to the people of Auckland. They deserve to be told the truth not spun artful lies.



  2. Mr Pearson has done more damage than he understands:


    And I believe that Mr Brown has grounds to move against him:


    (Please forgive the self-aggrandisement – it’s better than posting the two posts in toto)

    • ianmac 2.1

      Why is Mr Pearson the spokesman for POAL? Why has Mr Gibson as CEO faded from Public?
      I presume that Pearson and Gibson are in total agreement on strategy.

      • Hami Shearlie 2.1.1

        And what pray is Rob Campbell up to? He’s on the board, the poacher turned gamekeeper as it were. Is he Pearson and Gibson’s advisor re Munz? If he is, he’s doing a terrible job!

        • North

          I well remember the inimitable Rob Campbell from early 70s university days. What an inspiring and frankly attractive character he was then.

          I’d prefer to rescile from thinking he’s been bought. Which today leaves only these alternatives: was he a mouthy fraud then or is he a mouthy fraud now ? Substitute “self promoting ego-fuck” where you think it appropriate.

      • The complete invisibility of Mr Gibson reflects a lack of confidence by Mr Pearson in the former’s ability to handle in public the issues raised by the ports’ managememnt strategy. It also looks like Mr Pearson has a very strong sense of his own capacities, shown to be somewhat exaggerated.

  3. Jimmy 3

    This whole fiasco is so poorly executed I can only assume the end game is to make the port non viable in an effort to remove it’s presence from the Auckland water front and improve the viability of other ports in New Zealand.

    If the action to date was really aimed to “improve” PoAL profitability, goodness help us. That level of ineptitude should be reserved for elected officials only.

    • Lanthanide 3.1

      Yes, surely if they wanted to improve profitability they’d go talk to the union about their problem and try it the union’s way first – give them a fair crack at it. Then, after 12-18 months if the union hasn’t managed to improve the situation to the extent required, start looking at more extreme measures.

  4. prism 4

    Is there a right wing team ready to push through what they want in Auckland? They have the power and the ear of the government and have decided that they are going to break that bloody union. Arms round each other get down in the scrum and control is the game for the business roundtable michael bassett christine fletcher etc. There are many low income people but they haven’t got a party to make a cogent plan that will take them deep into the new millenium.

  5. aotearoean 5

    Interestingly Hutchison’s is the company that may have provided the report that persuaded Auckland Council that it could get a 12% return on equity.

  6. Tc 6

    It’s the real agenda behind supershity. Ports, water, whatever can make a buck for big business off she goes.

    If rortney got his way the waitakeres would be covered in McMansions lining developers pockets.

  7. Jenny 7

    The real agenda at PoAL?


    Guest poster SC poses the rhetorical question

    This is my view;

    Contracting out: [The privatisation you have when you are not having a privatisation]

    So you are the appointee of an extreme right wing politician placed at the head of a publice service company. The politician who hand picked you to take charge of this public asset espoused a ‘privatise everything’ philosophy and agenda, as his protege, you probably subscribe to this mantra as well.

    Unfortunately the right wing administrator that appointed you, is now out of office. There has since been an election that has seen the election of an official who publicly campaigned against privatising the company you are now the head of.

    What do you do?

    For those who think that contracting out and outsourcing have nothing in common with privatisation. As the reports from Australia and Britain show they all come from the same well spring. Seeking ways for the private sector to make money out of public services…….

    From the U.K. – Contracting firms Serco and Capita are not interested in owning state assets, the make all their money from running them.
    These multi-million-pound deals are being paid to the heads of the ‘outsourcers’ – the giant private companies that say they can do a better and more efficient job collecting bins, say, or providing nursing care than the State….

    ….They are private companies but they are also the creation of the Government’s drive to outsource services. The lion’s share of their turnover – and of their executives’ enormous pay packages – comes from the public purse. But there is little in the way of public accountability.
    These outsourcers already account for £79 billion of state expenditure every year, a figure which is set to grow if the Government fulfils its pledge to put nearly all state-run services out to contract……

    …… big outsourcer is Serco. In some parts of Britain it has taken over so many local services it is virtually indistinguishable from the council.
    In Canterbury Serco collects rubbish, trims trees, maintains road signs, cuts grass and looks after public toilets.

    …….Serco’s Chris Hyman, an evangelical Christian with a penchant for racing Ferraris, received a pay package of more than £5 million.
    Paul Pindar, head of Capita, had to rub along on a deal worth a total of £1.6 million.
    But in 2008, his overall pay – including share options – was worth almost £10 million.
    The outsourcers are often criticised as parsimonious employers whose profits grow fat only because they hire staff at the minimum wage, with minimum holiday and pension entitlements.
    Indeed, Capita is involved in a pay dispute with staff who recently stood outside the company’s head office, handing out leaflets detailing their grievances and highlighting the chief executive’s pay.
    A furious Mr Pindar went out to meet them armed with an annual report. Unfortunately for him, it showed his salary was a mere £14,000 a week. That, his employees pointed out, was more than many of them receive in a year.

    From Australia – Outsourcing, (Contracting out), and privatisation are seen as the same thing by right wing politicians.

    Liberal opposition leader Barry O’Farrell, the likely next premier, leads a team that openly talks about restructuring the ways in which public assets could be sold.

    It’s possible that O’Farrell will look to Western Australia for inspiration. But the Liberal government of Colin Barnett is facing public opposition to increasingly working with British multinational Serco in its plans to outsource key public services.

    Privatisation by another name

  8. Jenny 8

    But perhaps getting the port making money isn’t the endgame for this dispute…

    Guest poster SC.

    Well not for the public account anyway.

    Just like the first wave of privatisations, when private corporations first identified a trend to falling profits, and saw public assets as a new revenue stream.

    With his close links to private sector big business interests, Rodney Hide has set up the Ports of Auckland to fail as a publicly owned, (or run), asset.

  9. james 111 9

    Good to see that Mike Lee admits its need to be more competitive ,and efficent he can obviously see that there is no reason for Ship Owners to stay in Auckland.

    When it cost them an extra $40 million dollars per year. At the end of the day something had to give. Christine is quite right in wanting a much better return for Auckland Rate payers as 2% is woefully inadequate at the moment compare with Taurangas 17% plus.

    The good thing is when all the dust settles the Port will never go back to the way it was ,and will be a much more competitice ,and hungry beast with way less industrail action

  10. Jenny 10

    Wednesday, 21 March 2012
    Media Release

    POAL comment following Judicial Settlement Conference

    Ports of Auckland has been encouraged by the judge to return to mediation and is doing so in good faith.

    POAL has agreed to halt contracting out for 4 weeks but the company has not in any way resiled from its position on contracting out.

    The mediation will involve the collective agreement and it is the company’s intention to also discuss the striking workers applying for positions with the contracting companies.

    Are they completely insane?
    Contracting out their workers jobs, and signing a collective agreement with their workers, surely, are two mutually exclusive purposes?

    Can’t they see that, or are they just being deliberately obtuse.

    What is the purpose of signing a collective agreement with your workforce before dismissing them?

    A legal formality to go through the motions of, to meet the minimum legal obligation to “negotiate”?

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