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What’s really going on at Ports of Auckland

Written By: - Date published: 7:42 pm, January 9th, 2012 - 125 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, workers' rights - Tags:

The Right is up to its old tricks over the Ports of Auckland. It’s the usual pattern: make up some bullshit about how the workers are spoiled and unreasonable, cry that the sky will fall if the company doesn’t get its way, and (this is the long-game) suggest privatisation as the solution. What you haven’t heard is the cause of the ‘crisis’: the Port’s attempt to cut the workers’ conditions and pay.

Under the existing collective, which expired in September, port workers are employed either are permanents – who are entitled to at least 40 hours’ work a week and can specify one day preferred off but must be available 24/7 – P24s – who are permanent employees guaranteed only 3 8-hour shifts a week – and casuals – who can be called in any time but only if permanent workers aren’t available, who aren’t allowed to drive cranes, and get at least an 8-hour shift if they are called in. To protect the livelihoods of the permanent staff, the collective limits the percentage of P24s to 27.5% of the workforce and casuals to 25%.

At the basic pay rate of $27 an hour, a permanent stevedore works 260 8 hour shifts a year for $57,000. Overtime is common because the Port doesn’t want to employ enough permanents for its needs, and workers have to be available around the clock, on public holidays, and weekends. In theory, a stevedore could earn the mythic $90,000 that the Port talks about, but it would only be by working 64 hours a week, every week.

Far from being unskilled, easy work with plenty of breaks, as the Right has portrayed it, port work is dangerous (Tauranga, the ‘model’ port had 3 deaths in the last year) and high skill, with many of the workers having multiple qualifications. There are safety rules that mean staff have paid breaks from their work, but this means better safety and more productivity in the end.

The system works. Ports of Auckland is highly profitable (and, more importantly, provides a well-functioning piece of infrastructure to the economy). Workers boosted productivity by 4.1% last year. The CEO rewarded staff with a barbeque and bonuses.

What the Port wants to do is reduce its wage bill by reducing the amount of time that workers spend on paid breaks. How does it want to go about that?

  • It wants to completely remove restrictions on the employment of permanents, casuals or part timers and provides for no guaranteed shifts, hours, days off or stable work.
  • It would remove protection for workers required to work consecutive shifts. It would allow skilled driving work to be carried out by casuals.
  • It wants to change the minimum shift for a casual to 3 hours from 8. Coupled with casuals’ lower pay rates, this would mean the Port would save money by casualising its workforce and making them come in four shorter shifts.
  • The Port wants to give workers no choice at all about any days off and reduce break times to the minimums provided in the ERA regardless of how many shifts a worker has worked or how long that shift might be.

The carrot the Port is offering is a 10% wage hourly pay increase but this would be more than wiped out for most workers due to their reduced hours. Accidents and injuries would likely increase due to staff being tired, under-skilled, and under more pressure to perform.

So what do the big bad stevedores want instead?

  • They want to keep their current work rights, and a 2.5% increase.

For this, they are being painted as devils by the Right.

Let’s get serious here. The workers have struck for a total of 5 days. Their strike action is for a small, inflation-matching wage increase and to keep their current conditions. When CMP locked out workers for 65 days to try to extort a 20% wage cut out of them, the business community didn’t say a word in protest but workers strike for 5 days to protect what they already have and it’s the end of the world.

So, what’s the long game here? Why is a profitable, publicly-owned company picking a fight with workers who are increasing their productivity rapidly. Well, part of it is that there is major over capitalisation in New Zealand ports. Because there’s been no national coordination of port investment and many ports are privatised, ports have tried to out-compete each other in attracting larger ships. But there’s only so many ships coming to New Zealand. It’s a negative-sum game for New Zealand – no extra ships, more capital invested. So, having sunk all this money on capital, ports are now competing against each other for a limited pool of ships and the way to get them is to offer lower costs, at the expense of workers’ pay.

The other factor is privatisation. I’m not sure how actively involved in this angle the Port’s management is but they have been leaking to Whaleoil and CitiRats, who are now moving on to proposing a ‘lasting solution’ to the manufactured ‘crisis’ – partial privatisation. Len Brown – who has cravenly caved to the Right’s line and attacked the stevedores – won’t have a bar of that, fortunately, unless CitiRats can succeed in their efforts to drive is administration into deeper deficit. This is the long-term objective of the crisis that has been cooked up by the Right and the Port management: strip a skilled and professional workforce of their job security and safety conditions to cut wage costs, privatise the company, and let the profits flow to the elite.

It’s the same old game played by the same old elites who aren’t interested in ‘growing the pie’ but merely grabbing more of it for themselves. If they win in Port’s of Auckland, it could be your workplace next.

125 comments on “What’s really going on at Ports of Auckland”

  1. daphna 1

    The great strength of the wharfies is that they have old fashioned rank and file style unionism. The members attend the monthly stop work meetings and there is real engagement with the the decision making.  There’s a consciousness that they aren’t just fighting for themselves but for a bigger cause (This goes back to the days of Jock Barnes). They are always the most generous when it comes to supporting other strikes. They have the added advantage of an international network of waterfront workers. This dispute may end up costing the ship owners a lot if ships are held up at various other ports.


  2. Policy Parrot 2

    Len and City Vision need to threaten to sack the entire POAL board. It is their alleged insistence on unreasonable financial returns that are causing this dispute. The board can bring this dispute to resolution any time they want.

    Len, whats the point of being in power if you don’t use your power to influence how the council acts? POAL may be supposed to operate at arms length, but don’t think for a second that if there was a pro-union CEO insisting on continued stability in employment at POAL, a C+R majority would fire them day one.

    Even do it just to send a signal. That Auckland will not be bitchslapped around the block by a bunch of ballless bastards, who can’t accept that they don’t control Rodney’s wet dream. Put in a board that will actually run the port, not engage in ideological bullshit.

    • lprent 2.1

      They appear to be picking a fight and losing business over it without anything more than a wish to employ more casual labour. I’ve seen the port working, it is not an environment that you want too many casuals in. You need the experienced staff. Putting too many casual workers in looks to me like a recipe for killing people.

      The wages cost doesn’t look like a significiant component to the cost structure of the port. But stopping for injury or death would be. I think that the managers and the board should focus on areas that they can get productivity gains from.

      It really does feel like the board is just doing this for ideological reasons. To date the board hasn’t offered up a single reason that makes sense so far.

      Sack the board. Start with a clean slate, and this time keep bloody Rodney Hide’s rapicious buddies off it.

    • Agreed PP.  I think some of them have got sucked in by the rhetoric.

    • handle 2.3

      Auckland has been set up so the Council can’t sack the Board of the port or any of the other CCOs. Yet.

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    Yes it is the Board and the CEO who are the real unproductive parasites here. They can’t keep their major clients, they damage workforce productivity and motivation, all in all they are losing their shareholders money every day.

    Until labour is valued in this economy, this economy will continue to stagnate and workers will continue to leave for other shores. Yes that is a threat.

  4. RedLogix 4

    And what I want to know is why can we not get a simple, factual breakdown of the claims in the media as we have here?

    Well done James on getting this published.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      And what I want to know is why can we not get a simple, factual breakdown of the claims in the media as we have here?

      1) They can’t, or
      2) They won’t.

      I wonder which it is.

    • Lanthanide 4.2

      Yes, I think Radio New Zealand in particular has been quite biased in it’s presentation of this story so far.

  5. Hilary 5

    Matt McCarten’s op ed piece in the Herald was the first MSM piece I had seen which actually looked at both sides. Even RNZ news only reports the point of view of that nice Mr Gibson that those nasty over paid workers are being unreasonable.


  6. ropata 6

    As I mentioned in Open Mike: May the the ghost of Bruce Jesson haunt these mad privateers.

    Early in 1992, the ARC, under pressure from the Government and the usual suspects (Fay Richwhite was the sales agent) was poised to sell its 80% shareholding of the Ports of Auckland … the National government was grimly determined to push through legislation to break the ARC in half and to strip its assets.
    To the consternation of the political establishment a viable alternative to privatisation had been created – holding on to public assets – and managing them to create public wealth in the public interest. “Economic Jessonism” – perhaps we might call it. This completely flew in the face on neo liberal conventional wisdom. I have absolutely no doubt that the remarkable success of the ARST between 1992 and 1995 was to have an important influence on the Labour-led government some ten years later. Since that time the profits from the Port and other regional assets have been a key funder of Auckland transport and storm water projects – and are now virtually taken for granted in Auckland. It is hard to imagine how we could have embarked on the recent transport and other infrastructure upgrades without it.

  7. Thanks James.  Good detailed analysis of what is actually happening.  I think this is showing a major weakness though, the Maritime Union’s use of the MSM and especially Social Media sucks.  They need help.

    Cactus Kate stalked the area with her “$91k average wage” line that the usual suspects picked up on.  The Union should have responded quickly and directly.

    It not only matters that you are right, it also matters that you are perceived to be right. 

  8. Shona 8

    Duly forwarded this excellent summary to Nat Radio. Don’t hold your breath folks!

  9. grumpy 9

    Reminds me of the “Hobbit” fiasco. Union bluster, poor tactics and presto!

    No union and private contractors………………………….

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Oh yeah the half billionaire union member who wanted to bust worker unions. Trust you to pick him as an idol.

      • millsy 9.1.1

        Put a sack of spuds in that director’s chair and that film would still be spectacular…



    Port of Auckland Dispute Fact Sheet, 8 January 2012

    Prepared by NZCTU and MUNZ
    …Continue Reading
    Ports of Auckland dispute | Maritime Union of New Zealand
    Port of Auckland Dispute Fact Sheet, 8 January 2012 Prepared by NZCTU and MUNZ A PDF version of this fact sheet can be downloaded here…”

    Penny Bright
    [email deleted]

  11. Jenny 11

    So, what’s the long game here?


    Simply, James “the long game”, as you put it, is to get rid of the Maritime Workers Union.

    Ports Of Auckland Ltd. management are determined.

    Any concessions from the workers will be ignored.

    POAL will hire contractors to do the work currently being done by the union members.

    MUNZ members will be made redundant.

    If they collectively refuse to take redundancy, they will be locked out. Their redundancy entitlements will be withheld, till they concede.

    The end goal, total de-unionisation.

    Time line, 3 months.

    (Or so they think)

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      Its not difficult for workers to cause POAL to lose tens of millions of dollars over that 3 month timeframe. Geeee we have a really stupid executive management and board of directors. Don’t think that they are even worth minimum wage, the loss in value that they are causing POAL.

  12. John Dalley 12

    I see the international wharfies unions getting involved shortly.

    • Jenny 12.1

      I see the international wharfies unions getting involved shortly.

      John Dalley

      This is good news John. The support of the international is great. But unfortunately, is unlikely to be decisive.

      The international will always be an auxiliary in support of local trade union solidarity action in each member country.

      Before they embarked on this campaign, you can guarantee that POAL have already weighed, the cost of any blow back from solidarity actions by overseas unions, and have factored this into their equations.

      Victory in this dispute, will firstly depend on what support MUNZ gets from their fellow New Zealand trade unionists.

  13. International solidarity is welcome but it won’t stop the defeat of MUNZ. In 1951 ILWU refused to handle ships loaded by scab labour in NZ, but that didnt win the fight.
    What is needed is mass pickets to stop scabs who are working the wharves, and to prove to the NACTs that the working people of Auckland don’t take this shit lying down. The Port is owned by the people of Auckland who have seen off several attempts to flog it off. Basic infrastructure like ports should always be in public ownership. The so-called ‘left’ majority of Auckland Council under Brown quickly caved in to the right so that now a ‘majority’ of council are supporting management and calling for better profits returned to the council!
    When Occupy Oakland was evicted by the cops it met and called for a General Strike on Nov 2 last.. 30,000 people turned out to blockade the docks. Then the US West Coast Occupies shut down the West Coast ports on Dec 12. Occupy Oakland and other West Coast Occupies are currently supporting a mass picket at Longview against a grain MNC that wants to ‘outsource’ ILWU jobs to a tame company union.
    The ILWU leadership will not call for all the docks to shut down as that will break the US labor law that means that the unions can be sued and lose their assets. Despite this legal position, rank and file groups are calling for wildcat strikes to hit the port owners where it hurts. The way to make this happen is for Occupy to take up the cause mobilise tje 99% and build massive community public pickets of the docks.
    Whose Port! Our Port! That’s the cry of Occupy.

    • This is so obviously a setup to take on the union with a strong record of militancy in NZ – the WWU now in MUNZ. It has all the hallmarks of the 1951 lockout which was a setup between the Holland Govt and the US to use the ‘red scare’ to break the unions and enforce the direct rule of capital in NZ.
      Expect to see the NACT regime use this fight to bring in new legislation to effectively smash the unions as the only really effective opposition to privatisation, and return to the law of the jungle in the labour market.
      The reason for this is not the greed or bloody mindedness of the 1%, but the drive for profits in a worsening global crisis where is it necessary to force down wages and working conditions for the ruling class to survive. Their financial crisis was a symptom of a decline in their profits in industry which produced a flood of speculative fictitious capital. And having baled out their banks, and some countries, they are now forced to restructure industry to screw out more profits from the working people.
      It’s global, and as usual the NACTs are following the US and Britain in imposing these attacks on workers.
      But things are now changing, the unions have got support from the Occupy movement. The mass picket is now a reality. The bosses have no option but to criminalise the unions but in the process they lose their legitimacy with the 99%.
      Keep a close eye on the big fight at Longview, Washington where the big shipowners are trying to smash the ILWU and bring in scab labour to handle grain shipments.

      • dave brownz 13.1.1

        A good informed view of the convergence of Labor movement and Occupy movement on West Coast of US to fight the 1% finance capitalists.

        The parallels to the Auckland Port fight are obvious. The 1% has to destroy the unions before they join forces with the 99%. Its class warfare.

        Fran O’Sullivan’s article in todays NZH identifies the members of the 1% who have taken over the POA Board following the NACTs creation of their Supercity for the privatisation of city assets. Chairman Richard Pearson with a history of running private ports in Hong Kong and Rotterdam; Rob Campbell, former leading trade unionist who defected to property development and ruination of the waterfront etc.
        Smashing the union is a precondition to privatising the port in the interests of the 1%.

  14. randal 14

    this reminds me of the novel from the 50’s, “the tribe that lost its head”.
    this country has gone completely on the wonk.
    poal seem to want to wreck everything just for the sake of it.
    have they gone completely stark raving mad?
    the so called leaders are no better than well paid nincompoops.
    and as for the analysis of the reasons I am appalled at the expose of overinvestment by idiots.
    it seems to be just a fricken game for them where they use up resources and people just to amuse themselves.
    the people of new zealand deserve better than this.

  15. Lanthanide 15

    I think the casuals being required to come in for a minimum shift of 8 hours is a little excessive and the union should perhaps negotiate on that point (no lower than 5 hours minimum IMO). But the rest, absolutely agree with the union.

    • Jenny 15.1

      Lanthanide for the workers to agree to cutting their casual colleague’s hours will split off support from the union for this (already marginalised) group of workers.

      An injury to one, is an injury to all.

      Solidarity is strength.

      Division is treachery.

      Anyway Lanthanide, as I have pointed out, and has been shown in practice. POAL continue to ignore all concessions from the union, determined as they are, to contract out the union jobs, and get rid of the union.

      • Grumpy 15.1.1

        I suggest they get Robyn Malcolm in to lead the negotiations…..”..

      • Lanthanide 15.1.2

        “Anyway Lanthanide, as I have pointed out, and has been shown in practice. POAL continue to ignore all concessions from the union”

        Ignore all concessions *so far*. Maybe the union just hasn’t really given POAL any particularly useful concessions.

        • Jenny

          Maybe the union just hasn’t really given POAL any particularly useful concessions.


          Lanthanide, you obviously haven’t being paying attention. The company don’t want the union to make concessions, the company want to contract out all union jobs.

          POAL don’t care what concessions the union offer, they are hell bent on completely removing the union from the waterfront.

          It will cost the company $23 million to make all the unionists redundant.

          But this figure is chicken feed compared to huge increase in book value of the company when it comes up for sale.

          Private investors are more readily prepared to shell out to buy a non-union ports company than a fully unionised one.

  16. millsy 16

    Looks like POA is going to contract out the workforce, so we will have expendable AWF workers waiting all day by the phone to come in and do their 2 hour shifts for minimum wage, and as usual, those at the top, along with their bovver boys will be celebrating at the fact that they destroyed more high wage secure jobs because they resented the fact that unionised workers had a comfortable standard of living.

    • Sweetd 16.1

      Yep, cause those cargo ships just appear on the horizon with no notice at all eh?

      • Lanthanide 16.1.1

        Well that seems to be what POAL is saying by their insistence on having more flexible working hours.

  17. millsy 17

    I think the union needs to take to the streets over this. And be prepared to use force against:

    Cameron Slater
    David Farrar
    Len Brown
    George Wood
    Christine Fletcher.

    [lprent: Advocating the use of force is stupid when there are legitimate channels available. It is also unlawful and not tolerated here. Pull your head in. ]

    • Colonial Viper 17.1

      I always find it interesting that the Right wing thinks it OK to

      – eliminate workers jobs
      – eliminate the livelihoods of families
      – steal the economic surplus from workers while making them feel like shit
      – cause domestic stress, relationship break ups and cause people to lose their homes
      – force people to abandon their chosen careers
      – make entire families relocate to try and find decent work

      without karma all coming back to smack them in the face one day not too far off.

      • Craig GlenEden 17.1.1

        Very good points CV and the right will be out campaigning at the next election on family values.
        It makes me sick quite frankly the Rights attack on working families never stops its about time we started marching for workers families. The word Union has been stigmatized and we need to change our language we need to start talking more about workers families and we need to see families on picket lines.

    • chris73 17.2


      As I recall you’ve got a body like a half-sucked mintie, you going to lead this strike force or hide at the back?

    • Grumpy 17.3

      What do you mean by force?

    • higherstandard 17.4

      Um what ?

      Millsy you’re a very confused and angry chap.

  18. Hulun Shearer 18

    Last May decent Kiwis took to the streets and marched against Trade Union sabotage of a multi-billion dollar Kiwi industry.

    Trade Unionism is Treason! was the cry from the crowd and they knew that they were right. Decent Kiwis stood up and fought back against the enemies of freedom, to protect our country, our jobs and our industries.

    Another Mayday is months away. Looks like decent Kiwis will take to the streets again.

    [I’m putting you on notice as a probable troll….RL]

    • millsy 18.1

      Fuck off, workers should be able to join unions if they goddamn well want, so they can bargain for better wages and conditions. People like you would bring slavery back by lunchtime.

      • Bafacu 18.1.1

        I have no problems with people joining unions to collectively bargain (for their members) as long as they don’t preclude the employers from engaging workers who are not of the group – otherwise it’s a dictatorship rule.

        Ever thought of engaing (positively) with your employers? You may be surprised they they (jusy like you I presume) want a workforce who are happy to come to work as that means that they work more productively. Looking at industrial relations as a battlefield with “adversaries” slugging it out will never be in either’s best interest!

      • Brett Dale 18.1.2


        Yes everybody should have the right to join a Union, its the right to choose that is most important, and everybody also has the right NOT to join a Union without taking verbal or physical abuse in the workplace.

      • Colonial Viper 18.1.3

        Nah everyone should join a union or get an inferior contract on lesser pay.

        • Brett Dale

          Seriously Colonial Viper, sounds like a Tony Soprano thing?

          • Frank Macskasy

            I get what CV is saying…

            Why should non-members get the same benefits that Union members reeceive?

            That’d be like you expecting to get the same insurance payout I do – even though you haven’t contributed a single cent to paying for premiums.

    • Colonial Viper 18.2

      Hulun Shearer: student of Goebbels.

      Basically your kids and grandkids deserve the $3/hr slave labour McJobs that you are setting the NZ economy up for.

    • ropata 18.3

      HS could you go elsewhere to wank over your Randian fantasies?


    • Hulun Shearer – do you use your left or right hand?

  19. Bazar 19

    Care to explain why these employees have a right to demand they should be the only ones working?

    Because that’s what this is boiling down to.
    The union wants to keep the entire pie for themselves, no exception.

    Just reading this article, if you read between the lines, its basically advocating a big bloated ineffective buessiness is better then one that evolves when jobs come into the line.

    So again, i’ll ask
    Why do these unionists have the “right” do demand all the work. There is no such right.

    And i’ll take the last thing said in the article and correct it.

    “It’s the same old game played by the same old unionists who aren’t interested in ‘growing the pie’ but merely keeping most of it for themselves. If they win in Port’s of Auckland, it could be your workplace next.”

    • Colonial Viper 19.1

      No mate, its the elite 0.1% who want it all, and to get it all they must take it from the working 99.9%.

  20. RedLogix 20

    Why do these unionists have the “right” do demand all the work.

    If you truly believe this, you would actively approach your own employer today and demand that he ‘shares’ your current job with other unemployed people. And insist that in the interests fo the company that they are paid much less than you.

    • Grumpy 20.1

      But isn’t that the point of the whole equality thing, the occupy movement etc. surely the unequal port workers, being good unionists, would be only too willing to share with the lower paid?

      • RedLogix 20.1.1

        I’ll take you seriously when businesses start approaching their clients, or customers … whatever.. demand that they ‘share’ the business with their competitors.

        Nah… you and Bazar are just playing at being dicks, pretending that workers on a fairly ordinary $27/hr base rate are somehow ‘privileged’ to have the job.

        If you want to insist others should share around the jobs, work or business… start with yourselves. Anything else is hypocrisy.

        • Bazar

          “Nah… you and Bazar are just playing at being dicks, pretending that workers on a fairly ordinary $27/hr base rate are somehow ‘privileged’ to have the job.”

          You seem to be the one getting mixed up. You’ve taken what I’ve asked, and reflected it.

          I’ve asked why they are so “privileged”, that they should get all the work.
          You’ve then told me I’m a dick because I’ve suggested they are privileged to have such work.

          That’s not logical, but i guess it fits with your name.

          There is no reason i can think of, that unionists have the right to demand all working arrangements as they see fit. And you have utterly failed to demonstrably prove otherwise.

          “If you want to insist others should share around the jobs, work or business… start with yourselves. Anything else is hypocrisy.”

          And so you’ve constructed a strawman, and used it to accuse me of hypocrisy.
          This isn’t about “sharing” the jobs around.

          • felix

            Correct, it’s about paying fewer people less money to do more work.

          • Tangled up in blue

            There is no reason i can think of, that unionists have the right to demand all working arrangements as they see fit. And you have utterly failed to demonstrably prove otherwise.

            Why should companies have the right to demand all working arrangements as they see fit?

            What’s good for maximising profits isn’t always good for workers, their families, the wider community and the country as a whole.

      • Colonial Viper 20.1.2

        surely the unequal port workers, being good unionists, would be only too willing to share with the lower paid?

        Thats called ‘free riding’ you dimwit, where non-union members try and secure the same benefits as union members for no extra effort. Unions do not like that.

        Its what you call ‘bludging’ in case you didn’t recognise it.

        Just like what the CEO of POAL is doing off his workforce. The workers are adding value to POAL he is destroying it – in spades.

  21. Jonstanz 21

    missing from the argument is the externalized environmental costs of switching ports and congesting roads. When the fonterras of this world switch ports to save money they do so because they are not paying the real costs of road transport, we and our grandchildren are

  22. Tom Gould 22

    Anyone know who the CE of the Port company is, and moreover, how much his salary is? They have released the workers’ salaries. Why can’t we know the bosses salaries and benefits packages too? It’s only fair. Also who is on the Board, and how much do they get paid? And do they meet in public? And what does the Board chair say about the IR policy they decide? How come the company spin is run without question, and the board is invisible?

    • higherstandard 22.1

      All the info should be here


      • Colonial Viper 22.1.1

        Thanks for that hs.

        Looks like CEO Tony Gibson was Managing Director of Maersk NZ for the last 3 years, and thinks he is still working on behalf of the big freight companies to break the unions.

        Fucking privateers.

        • higherstandard

          I on’t know of him or about him, but it doesn’t strike me as odd that he was previously Managing Director of Maersk before taking on MD at POAL.

          • Colonial Viper

            No I don’t think it’s odd, either. Tony has an extensive background in logistics and shipping. I wonder what his bosses the Board think they are playing at here. They’ve set the POAL on an extremely confrontational path – but to what end?

            Do they see having a unionised work force as an impediment to selling off POAL at top rates, sometime in the future?

  23. HappyGoLucky 23

    I feel sick to my stomach – Len Brown caving in to the right and backing the bosses over workers. Why do we bust our guts to help politicians when they betray us?

  24. higherstandard 24

    Good luck with supporting MUNZ in this stoush, as it will be a battle for the hearts and minds of the public I would suggest this is about as stupid a battle to pick as backing actors equity and attempting to demonise Peter Jackson and at let’s not forget Darien Fenton’s brainfart social media attack on the Mad Butcher.

    • RedLogix 24.1

      A battle where only one side is given all the media soft-cocking?

      And as with the Hobbit debacle the employers will be shown to be lying mendacious arses after the event.

      I can only suppose you’re proud of how things get done in your world hs.

      • higherstandard 24.1.1

        Red like many on this site you’re a sad old ideologue fighting battles past.

        The PoA wharfies have for many decades been renowned around town as being very well reimbursed both financially and non-financially and have overplayed their hand here quite significantly. Like it or not most around town will look at them and MUNZ and think they are a greedy bunch of pricks who are trying to hold Auckland to ransom.

        Oh and thank goodness the Hobbit is going ahead in NZ, word is there’s money and jobs flowing as a result.

        • RedLogix

          So are you proud that the Hobbit was filmed here because the government gave a US studio a nice fat increased subsidy to do so?

          And Jackson and co been proven in writing to have lied in order to get what they wanted? As Gibson is lying about the stevedores being paid the mythical $90k for 26 hours work a week? Is lying just business as usual to you hs?

          Yes or no?

          • higherstandard

            I’m proud that the Hobbit is being filmed here due to the employment and finances that have flowed into the country as a result. the new benefit is quite considerable.

            Who knows what the real average annual take home is for Stevedores in Auckland, I expect it is somewhere between Gibson’s figure and that of the spin of James above.

            As I said before the PoA wharfies have for many decades been renowned around town as being very well reimbursed both financially and non-financially and have overplayed their hand here quite significantly. Like it or not most around town will look at them and MUNZ and think they are a greedy bunch of pricks who are trying to hold Auckland to ransom.

            • RedLogix

              I’m proud that the Hobbit is being filmed here due to the employment and finances that have flowed into the country as a result. the new benefit is quite considerable.

              So I must conclude that you are also proud that Jackson and the studio simply lied over the entire matter.

              As did Gibson’s. He is a liar as well. The kind of liar that you should spit in their face, and contemptously demand they leave the room because you can no longer believe a word they say.

              As I said before the PoA wharfies have for many decades been renowned around town as being very well reimbursed both financially and non-financially

              For the hours they work, an income somewhere between $60-80k is perfectly ordinary; pretending otherwise is just another lie.

              Like it or not most around town will look at them and MUNZ and think they are a greedy bunch of pricks

              Negotiating to retain your existing conditions and rosters (that currently allow PoAL to be profitable and productive)… and a 2.5% inflation adjustment is greedy how? Suggesting otherwise is just another lie from you hs.

              But as I said before; lying is just business as usual for you. As with all sociopaths.

              • higherstandard

                I must conclude you are a sad old chardonnay swilling socialist.

                Jackson and the studio did not lie the film could have been moved offshore.

                How did Gibson lie ? I’d put money on it that the example he gave is of an actual employee – one at the top end no doubt so as put his spin on it but hardly a lie.

                For the hours they work……. well there’s the crux of the matter is it not someone from the union of the PoA needs to open up the whole thing to public scrutiny. I doubt the PoA management can without the employees say so – perhaps sunlight is the best disinfectant. I do note they were overly desperate to retain their existing existing conditions and rosters which should as with the management of PoA be open to public scrutiny.

                And as for accusing me of lying and being a sociopath – ho hum sticks and stones and all that especially when it’s from the likes of you and CV.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Peter Jackson, the half billion dollar union member (actually he is a member of at least 3 unions) who breaks NZ workers unions for fun – which of course makes him a hypocrite- on behalf of the miltibillion dollar Hollywood movie studios.

                  You must be so proud of him as your idol.

                  • higherstandard

                    He’s done well for himself and the country – good on him.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      He’s done well for himself and his Hollywood paymasters – good on him


                      Of course I would trust you to hypocritically back a half billionaire union member.

                    • higherstandard

                      Well he’s done more for NZ than most, so Yes I appreciate his efforts.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      He’s a hypocritical back stabbing union member. Who could easily afford to give his workers collective representation at the bargaining table.

                      But chose not to because of his own ego and because of foreign investors who couldn’t bare to see NZ workers get another dime out of the hundreds of millions of profits expected.

                • RedLogix

                  I must conclude you are a sad old chardonnay swilling socialist.

                  Never swilled chardonnay in my life. Lie #1

                  I’d put money on it that the example he gave is of an actual employee – one at the top end no doubt so as put his spin on it but hardly a lie.

                  Using one extreme example to imply that this is the norm is another lie. #2

                  For the hours they work.

                  And that is no doubt the problem here. The port wants their workers available for duty, either on standby or onsite but stood down, but doesn’t want to pay them for it. Suggesting that workers being not paid for not working, when they are….is another lie. #3

                  And as for accusing me of lying and being a sociopath

                  We’ve caught you in so many lies (ok you like to call it spin) that it’s obvious it comes to you like breathing. Just naming what I see.

                • lprent

                  How did Gibson lie ? I’d put money on it that the example he gave is of an actual employee – one at the top end no doubt so as put his spin on it but hardly a lie.

                  So following your logic and applying it to a different situation….

                  if we look at Gibson’s wage packet as a CEO then we can assume that he gets the same as the top wages paid for all CEO’s in NZ? That means that PoA can massively improve their efficiency by simply sacking their CEO because obviously at 3 odd million in salaries paid by the port he is the ONLY person drawing a salary.

                  Just following your “logic” and applying it elsewhere shows how ludicrous it is. And how self-serving Gibson’s selective “wharfie’s wage” is.

                  What a stupid line of argument you’re reduced to pathetically using. Quite simply Gibson was deliberately lying. The fools like Cactus and Whale choose to be gullible fools. I guess you must be as well?

                  • higherstandard

                    Ha ha all the support trolls are out in force.

                    MUNZ and POAL are playing exactly the same game on this issue

                    Tell you what Lynn get MUNZ and their members to release the average and median annual gross take home pay for the wharfies at POAL then everyone can see whether the strike is justified or not.

                    • lprent

                      Why would the union know that? They don’t hold the wage records or the hours worked for company employees. The company holds that information.

                      Your question should be given to the PoA, who coincidentally haven’t released that information. Now I realise you’re not exactly fast on these matters, but that the company hasn’t released such summary data into the public domain suggest that it is quite different to the maximum that someone may have earned after working extra shifts at penal rates.

                      From the few wharfies that I have run across over the years, the take-home wage packets are ok, but not that good. Someone said about $57k if you worked normal sorts of hours and from the ones I have talked to, that’s be in the right order.

                      You can probably figure out a rough average if the company puts numbers of waged employees and the total wages in the annual report. But that’d be the only public data I know of.

                    • higherstandard

                      I doubt the POAL can release the information without the agreement of the employees and MUNZ.

                      If the information supports the employees and MUNZ’s position I would be gobsmacked as to why the have not pressured the POAL into releasing the information or at least making it up themselves instead of the weak spin done by James – at present MUNZ is losing the PR battle and thus serving their members very poorly indeed.

                    • Tell you what Lynn get MUNZ and their members to release the average and median annual gross take home pay for the wharfies at POAL then everyone can see whether the strike is justified or not.

                      “Justified”? “Justified” to whom?

                      This is a democracy. Last time I looked, people were free to join associations; make contracts; and expect those contracts to be upheld. That includes agreements between unions and employers.

                      What else would you advocate?

                      And why does it bother you that other people are trying to save their jobs? What possible concern does it make to you? And would you like others to comment on the contract you have with your employer?

        • Colonial Viper

          hs: I bet the executive team at PoA gets paid a shitload. Whats the bet that Tony Gibson’s renumeration exceeds $750K pa. Who knows what its Board members are on for meeting once a month. But I bet you its more than $13/hr.

          When you talk about a greedy bunch of pricks, its a shame you always point the finger at ordinary workers.

          Why are you such a loser.

          • higherstandard

            Their financial accounts are on the PoA site link that I posted above – I agree that the renumeration for management and the board should be limited in the current environment and strongly linked to the performance of the PoA.

            It really is sad that your life revolves around this ‘class war’ drivel.

            • RedLogix

              But the Board’s renumeration IS secret. And Gibson’s almost certainly WAY higher than any of the port workers.

              That IS class war. You just want to pretend it isn’t happening.

              • higherstandard

                Directors fees are published here.

                Click to access POAL_financial%20_review_2011.pdf

                Class war smarsh war, take it up with Auckland Council ‘Auckland Council Investments Limited (ACIL) owns and manages Auckland Council’s major investment assets. It has an independent Board of Directors and is a council-controlled organisation (CCO). The ultimate controlling party of Auckland Council Investments Limited is Auckland Council.”


                • RedLogix

                  Scanned the report and all it mentions is this:

                  (c) Key management personnel compensation
                  Key management personnel compensation for the years ended 30 June 2011 and 2010 is set out below. The key management personnel are all the directors of the company and the direct reports to the Managing Director whom have the greatest authority for the strategic direction and management of the company.
                  The Group does not provide any non cash benefits to directors and key management

                  It then lists the total Director fees as $425,000. This is aprox $70k ea which is pretty normal for director fees.

                  It then list total “Salaries, other short term employee benefits” as $3,242 2,775.

                  No mention of who or how many employees this relates to. So no we are still none the wiser as to how much Tony Gibson is paid to be a lying arse.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    But hs claimed that the level of directors fees were published in that document. Don’t tell me he was obfuscating.

                    • higherstandard

                      It is published as per the total – they will all be on around about the same apart from the chair who will usually be paid 10-20% more.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      So what is their hourly rate, compared to the wharfies, hs. Bet you its more than $27/hr for the company directors eh.

                      Probably about 10x-12x more than the wharfies, eh, at a guess. For what, sitting on their ass, being parasites, not putting their lives on the line like real port workers.

                    • higherstandard

                      Board members are on a higher rate than the wharfies – gosh it is the biggest outrage in the history of the world.

                    • felix

                      I realise you’re taking the piss hs, but you’ve accidentally hit the nail on the head.

                      People who do a small amount of very easy work getting paid 10x more than the people who do large amounts of difficult work is actually, in many ways, the “biggest outrage in the history of the world.”

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Board members are on a higher rate than the wharfies – gosh it is the biggest outrage in the history of the world.

                      Don’t try and underplay the inherent unfairness with sarcasm. Like I said, these are parasites who clearly cannot keep their own management disciplined, who cannot keep major clients of the port, and who do not put their lives on the line working every day. The Board members don’t deserve $27 an hour let alone $270 an hour.

                      I note that in terms of our current Class War, that $270/hour Board members are the very socioeconomic class that you are fighting for.

                • So what?

                  Workers aren’t entitled to manage their own affairs; act collectively; and negotiate together for mutual benefit?

                  You better tell Fonterra that they are being collectivists!!

              • Colonial Viper


                HS, you’re a collaborator of the 1%.

                Let me remind you – your friends, neighbours, children and relatives are far more likely to be earning less than $50K pa, far less than these greedy pricks on $750K pa or more who then demand that their own workers do more for less.

                Why don’t you start demanding pay cuts for the Board and executive management, and longer working hours and more productivity from them, before you start targetting workers.

                But you won’t will you – since they are the class you are fighting for in this war.

                Gibson is destroying shareholder value at a massive rate of knots yet you back him ahead of his workforce.

                • higherstandard

                  Yes I am the 1% and CV I am your father.

                  I’m sure I have said that the board and executive management should be on performance pay and should therefore receive a serious kicking….. if not take it as so stated.

                  • Colonial Viper


                    Now why don’t you support the workers in taking down POAL’s executive management and Board down a peg or two, as it is clear that those very high paid senior officers are not worth the money they are ‘earning’.

                    • higherstandard

                      Believe it or not I’m not mired to the class war ideologyyou espouse that continues to see one side as right and the other as wrong – in this instance I view them all as a bunch of useless self serving troughers on the rate payers back.

                  • But HS…

                    Didn’t John Key – the man whose Party you probably voted for – advocate raising wages to match Australia?

            • Frank Macskasy

              It really is sad that your life revolves around this ‘class war’ drivel.

              Of course it’s class war. What else would it be?

    • Nightowl 24.2

      Here was I thinking the ‘leftylenny’ was in the pocket of Labour voters

  25. Tom Gould 25

    So can this be right, a bunch of directors getting $70k a year for turning up to a few secret meetings, and their lapdog CE they pay $750k a year, reckon a wharfie on $60k is a lazy greedy prick? Can that be right?

    • Colonial Viper 25.1

      The only way that executive management and Board members can be paid so much is because real workers, the wharfies, are generating an economic surplus at the front lines of the port.

      That worker generated economic surplus is being taken away from workers by parasitic executive management and an incompetent and greedy Board.

      • Gosman 25.1.1

        You should form a collective of workers who are able to manage a multi-million dollar business without highly paid executives then CV. I somehow suspect though that you will come up with some sort of reason why the big bad nasty capitalists won’t let you.

      • Gosman 25.1.2

        Actually the closest we have in NZ to your vision of a multi-million dollar business being managed for the benefit of the workforce is probably Fonterra. However I think even Fonterra pays top dollar for it’s Senior management team.

        For once I would like some lefties to actually get out there and show how it can be done differently rather than bemoaning how bad the current system is. Pool your capital and form a leftist investment collective. It would be interesting to see how you go.

        • Colonial Viper

          Actually the closest we have in NZ to your vision of a multi-million dollar business being managed for the benefit of the workforce is probably Fonterra.

          Fonterra is managed for the benefit of its supplier-shareholders, not its workers.

          For once I would like some lefties to actually get out there and show how it can be done differently rather than bemoaning how bad the current system is. Pool your capital and form a leftist investment collective. It would be interesting to see how you go.

          I’ll make sure you get an invite. Launch night will be at Sky City.

        • chris73

          Much easier to criticise what others do (I’m ignoring the contradiction of what I just typed) then to go out and do it yourself

        • Frank Macskasy

          For once I would like some lefties to actually get out there and show how it can be done differently rather than bemoaning how bad the current system is.

          Nah, Goman. The “lefties” as you put it, are the ones doing the actual work. Y’know – getting their hands dirty and providing the labour that goes into making Fonterra’s (and others’) products and services.

          It’s not the PoA CEO who is handling the cranes that shifts hundreds of tonnes of freight around the Port – it’s the guys who turn up each day, to do this dangerous, dirty work.

          Personally, I wouldn’t do it. So they deserve whatever they earn.

          And as I said to someone above: what possible business is it of yours what other people earn?

        • Frank Macskasy

          Pool your capital and form a leftist investment collective.

          Isn’t that what a Union is?

          A workers collective pooling their “investment” (labour)?

          You don’t seem too happy about it.

  26. Gosman 26

    This kind of dispute should be tailor made for left wingers . I mean we have big bad employers trying to screw the unionised workforce. However for some reason the mainstream political leadership of the left goes missing in these times. What is Len Brown’s and David Shearer’s position on this?

    • What is Len Brown’s and David Shearer’s position on this?

      And you would care because…?

      After all, I’d bet good money at the TAB that you’d never vote for either of them. So whatever their position is, should be utterly irrelevant to you.

    • Why “tailored made for left wingers “? Are workers not allowed to negotiate their working conditions?

      Are you saying that contracts are valid if only one side has input and the other takes-it or leaves-it?

      In effect, Gosman, that is precisely what you’re advocating; employers offer a contract and employees can lump it or leave it.

      Where does “negotiation” enter into it?

      And if contract negotiations between parties are sacrosanct – why are you – a self-professed libertarian – inclined to interfere?

  27. Rick 27

    So what youre saying is that instead of lworkers eaving their jobs if they dislike the pay and conditions that it is instead ok for them to resort to extortion to change the pay and conditions to one that suits?

    BTW James, when I come and mow your lawns next time i’ll be there at 6am cause thats when it suits me and if you dont like it I’ll picket your driveway and let the grass go uncut and dont even think about contracting the lawn mowing job out to someone else.

    • Rick, your comments are nonsensical,

      So what youre saying is that instead of lworkers eaving their jobs if they dislike the pay and conditions that it is instead ok for them to resort to extortion to change the pay and conditions to one that suits?

      Since when is negotiating “extortion”?

      And why would it bother you what negotiations are taking place between people that don’t concern you? It’s a matter for the Union and PoA to sort out bwetween themselves.

      And imagine if all workers walked off their jobs – this country’s economy would collapse overnight!!

      BTW James, when I come and mow your lawns next time i’ll be there at 6am cause thats when it suits me and if you dont like it I’ll picket your driveway and let the grass go uncut and dont even think about contracting the lawn mowing job out to someone else.

      Rubbish. You’d be turning up at 6AM only if there was a contractual agreement in place. Just as there is a contractual agreement between the Union and PoA.

  28. PortSupport 28

    the underlying fact remains, why should a company be managed by the employees, who has the right to manage?
    The workplace is not a democracy. The port has a clear mandate to provide returns to the owners, why is this such an unusual request?
    If you owned a business and the workers dictated to you that you made less profit than what you could make if you put the money in the bank, and on top of that drove your productivity at a point that your competitors slowly took away your customers, how would you feel?
    That is exactly what is and has been happening at the Ports of Auckland for many years. Anyone that refutes this should pull their heads out of the sand.
    Many of the stevedores are good guys, but have been blinded, bullied, and convinced that the only way to win is to fight, ask any MUNZ member and he will tell you that they only win, and they have their conditions by fighting. Tell me, is that anyway to work in a progressive society? the Port has tried every possible option over many years to find a reasonable solution to the low productivity at the port, the customers are voting with their feet and unless the model changes, there won’t be a port there in a few years. Auckland exists because of the Port, most of the jobs in the whole city rely in some way on the port. This is so much bigger than a handful of overpaid under-worked individuals.

    [So, the workers should always give their employer whatever they demand? When your boss demands you go on casual hours and take a 30% pay hit, will you jump for joy? Or doesn’t it apply to you? Also, more fundamentally, why shouldn’t the place where we spend 2,000 hours plus a year be a democracy? Zet]

    • Colonial Viper 28.1

      the underlying fact remains, why should a company be managed by the employees, who has the right to manage?
      The workplace is not a democracy. The port has a clear mandate to provide returns to the owners, why is this such an unusual request?

      Zet is spot on and you “PortSupport” (lol) are wrong.

      The workplace should be a democracy and could easily be. Both the elitist board and management are anti-worker and have shown to be a destroyer of long term value at the port.

      Members from a workers council should have 20% of the votes on the Board of Directors.

      The CEO and the other executive managers at the port should be voted in bi-annually by any worker who has been at the port at least 12 months. Those persons could come from the workforce or could be an outside candidate.

      Oh nice repetition of the “mandate” theme.

      Here’s another theme for you to consider: that of “legitimacy”. PoA management and directors have no legitimacy in the eyes of the workers because they are the ones at thte top who are destroying the long term value and viability of the port and of worker livelihoods.

      Fuck’m and fire’m. Getting rid of the CEO and the Board will increase port profits by 10.5%.


      I ask this because Gibson is clearly executing a plan to break the union as a precursor to selling off the port. IMO this cannot have been done without explicit instruction from the Board and, due to the political risk, at least tacit approval by the City Council and Mayor.

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    3 days ago
  • Adult kakī/black stilt numbers soar
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  • Waikato-Tainui settlement story launched on 25th anniversary of Treaty signing
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    5 days ago
  • New District Court Judge appointed
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  • New Principal Environment Judge
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    6 days ago
  • Digital connectivity boost for urban marae
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    7 days ago
  • Investment in New Zealand’s history
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  • Legal framework for COVID-19 Alert Level referred to select committee
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