Maritime workers oppose Ports of Auckland privatization sneak plan

The Maritime Union of New Zealand says any attempt to privatize the Ports of Auckland will be met with massive opposition.

The Government wants to repeal a law requiring a referendum before shares are sold in the port as part of Super City legislation.

Maritime Union Auckland Branch Local 13 Secretary Russell Mayn says the workforce at the port is firmly opposed to any part or full privatization of the port.

“There is no mandate for it, the public want to keep ownership of their port, just like they did in the 1990s when National tried to flog it off then and failed.”

Mr Mayn says the current moves by the Local Government Minister Rodney Hide are about lining up the port for privatization in the future.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if they already have the For Sale signs waiting in the basement.”

Maritime Union National Vice President Garry Parsloe says it would be very easy for the Port to fall into overseas ownership with profits being sucked out of the region, and the port serving the interests of global shipping and port operators rather than New Zealand.

Mr Parsloe says there would be a massive public backlash if the privatization of the port was attempted through the Super City process, and the Maritime Union would be supporting any community campaign to oppose privatization.

The Maritime Union was involved in the 2006 Keep Our Port Public campaign in Christchurch when the Christchurch City Council was involved in a failed attempt to part privatize the Port of Lyttelton.

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