No to privatization for Ports of Auckland
The Maritime Union has spoken out against a new report pushing the privatization of Ports of Auckland.
Maritime Union of New Zealand Local 13 Auckland Branch Secretary Russell Mayn says the term “mixed ownership” meant privatization, and was not driven by what is good for Auckland.
He says Ports of Auckland is not a normal business, but a natural monopoly, and is a small port by world standards.
“The primary value of Ports of Auckland and other New Zealand ports is in the role they play in facilitating trade, not in their returns to shareholders.”
Mr Mayn says the confusion around relocation of the Ports and now privatization is going to cause more problems for supply chain security.
“We have seen a major turnaround in performance at Ports of Auckland recently, and we risk undermining this good work.”
Mr Mayn says the major cause of low dividends in past years was the failed automation project at Ports of Auckland which has now been dumped.
He says the Maritime Union rejected the automation project from the beginning.
“You don’t have to be a privatization fan to see that was a bad idea.”
The failed automation project is the subject of a major forthcoming study by the International Transport Workers’ Federation, which MUNZ is affiliated to.
The Union also warned redundancies at POAL at the beginning of COVID were a mistake, and was vindicated when there was a resulting labour shortage at the Ports.
Mr Mayn says modern ports need to be socially and environmentally responsible, and theories that the sole purpose of ports was commercial return to shareholders should be alarming to both port users, residents and workers.
He says the history of privatization and ‘more market’ ideology has left New Zealand with crumbling infrastructure, pollution and systemic issues throughout the transport industry, including in areas such as training and health and safety.