Two of New Zealand’s main transport unions have formed a strategic alliance focussed on the New Zealand waterfront.
The Maritime Union of New Zealand says that New Zealand’s overseas trade could be in jeopardy unless the Government has a plan for ports and the maritime sector.
Maritime Union General Secretary Joe Fleetwood, responding to comments from the Minister of Transport Hon. Stephen Joyce, says it is not good enough for the Government to leave it to chance when 99% of New Zealand’s imports and exports are shipped.
He says that there is widespread concern in the industry that in future cargo could be hubbed through a large Australian port, with complex and negative effects for New Zealand.
Maritime Union of New Zealand General Secretary Joe Fleetwood says recent statements from Minister of Transport Stephen Joyce and retiring Pacifica Shipping Chief Executive Rod Grout on New Zealand ports and shipping show the need for immediate action in the maritime industry.
Mr Fleetwood says it is incorrect for the National Government to say they want market forces decide the future of the maritime industry, when massive taxpayer investment was directed at roads and rail.
He says that a “hands off” approach to the maritime industry means major market players would dominate the market and make decisions that could harm New Zealand’s transport infrastructure.
The Maritime Union is backing Green Party calls for the Government to reconsider its push to put oversized trucks on New Zealand roads.
Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the Government is obviously not concerned at the extra deaths and injuries that will occur as a result on New Zealand roads.
Over 100 local people attended a Timaru public meeting on the future of the port of Timaru on Thursday 17 September.
The meeting was called by the Maritime Union of New Zealand following a decision last month by Fonterra to stop exports from the port of Timaru, which has resulted in a massive loss of work for the port.
Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the meeting was a success.
The Maritime Union of New Zealand is hosting a public meeting on the future of the Port of Timaru. The meeting will be held at “Robbies” (Hibernian Hotel), Latter Street, Timaru on Thursday 17 September starting at 7.30pm sharp.
All concerned local people are invited to the meeting, including port workers, unions, business, industry, farmers, and all those concerned with the future of the port.
For more information see the Port of Timaru campaign website.
The Maritime Union is asking where the Government and the Minister of Transport stands on the future of regional ports after Fonterra announced it was withdrawing from some regional ports in favour of transporting goods by long distance rail last month.
Jobs are under threat, casualization is hitting workers hard, and the viability of regional ports is under a cloud after the decision, which has created intense debate in the regions and the transport industry.
Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the union’s national executive met with a Fonterra representative earlier this week.