Ports of Auckland must not be privatized

The Maritime Union of New Zealand says the Ports of Auckland must remain in the full ownership of Auckland Council.

Maritime Union of New Zealand National Secretary Craig Harrison says recent debates in the Auckland Mayoralty election campaign had created a lack of clarity around the future of the Ports and the dangers of privatization or part-privatization.

He says it is important for Ports of Auckland to be able to focus on its business without more distractions.

Mr Harrison says the difficulties experienced by Ports of Auckland in the last ten years were caused by problems at the Board and managerial level.

He says those problems have been finally resolved with a clean out and replacement by a new team.

“There is now a more positive relationship between the union workforce and new management and this is already having benefits, for example in the stronger focus on health and safety.”

The abandonment of the automation project and growth in the Ports workforce would see better results, faster turnaround and higher returns to Auckland Council going forward, he says.

Mr Harrison says major volatility in supply chains is still an issue, and there was a need for a freight strategy for New Zealand ports especially in the northern North Island.

He says there is a small group driven by self-interest who wanted to see port privatization, but most Aucklanders realized the benefits of the asset they had in Ports of Auckland.

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