Maritime Union welcomes charges against former Ports of Auckland CEO

The Maritime Union has welcomed news the individual facing charges for the 2020 death of a worker at the Ports of Auckland is former CEO Tony Gibson.

The Ports of Auckland is also facing charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 filed by Government agency Maritime New Zealand at the Auckland District Court.

Mr Pala’amo (Amo) Kalati was killed on 30 August 2020 after being crushed when a container was dropped during a lifting operation on the night shift.

31-year old Mr Kalati was a father of seven and had only been working at the Ports for a short time.

Maritime Union of New Zealand National Secretary Craig Harrison says the Union made repeated attempts for a number of years to call attention to health and safety issues at POAL.

An independent review commissioned by POAL owners Auckland City found systemic problems around the health and safety management culture at the Ports.

Mr Harrison says this will be a groundbreaking case.

It is the first time a chief executive from a company of POAL’s size had been charged under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

Mr Harrison says he hopes the outcome will be to send a strong message to Port managers, directors and owners that they are accountable for the wellbeing of port workers.

The former chair of the POAL Board Liz Coutts and former CEO of POAL Tony Gibson have both resigned since the 2020 death of Mr Kalati.

On Friday 4 December, POAL was sentenced for their role in the death of another young employee in 2018 and fined over half a million dollars.




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