Ports of Auckland must remain in public hands

The Maritime Union of New Zealand says that any proposal to privatize the Ports of Auckland would create a “perfect storm of opposition.”

Maritime Union Local 13 President Denis Carlisle says those pushing the plan were people out of time.

“There is obviously a faction out there who want to bring back port privatization plans from the dead.”

Mr Carlisle says that the privatization strategy with the Ports of Auckland failed in the 1990s due to mass public opposition and recent attempts to part-privatize the Ports of Lyttelton had also ended in failure.

“It seems bizarre at a time when the deregulation and privatization agenda has now been completely discredited globally, there are people who still want to continue on down the same old path.”

He says that the port has recently seen major productivity gains and to complain about reduced profits when the global economy was in crisis showed privatization proponents were out of touch with reality.

Mr Carlisle says it was obvious that there were problems with the port system in New Zealand.

These problems were due to lack of a national ports plan and regulation, leading to self-destructive competition and the casualization of the workforce, and privatization would only make matters worse.

“In the end analysis, the role of ports is to ensure the flow of goods to and from New Zealand, not as a cash cow for private investors looking for a quick buck.”

He says it made no sense for a small, maritime trade dependant nation like New Zealand to pass over control of its transport infrastructure to private interests whose only motive is short term profit.

He says that if board members were not comfortable with the status of the Ports of Auckland they should clear out.

For more information, contact Maritime Union Local 13 Auckland Waterfront Branch President Denis Carlisle on 021963528

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