The Maritime Union says the Mayor of Auckland should “show us the numbers” about Auckland’s finances before pushing port privatisation as the easy answer to its problems.
The Maritime Union was responding to claims by the Mayor reported in the media last week about the need for service cuts and asset sales as a solution to rising rates.
Maritime Union Auckland Branch Local 13 Secretary Russell Mayn says Auckland ratepayers are aware of pressures on City finances, but want to see some hard evidence as to how privatisation is a solution.
“At the moment it seems largely to be doom and gloom tactics to try and generate a panic and justify an existing agenda.”
He says that selling profitable strategic assets comes with substantial costs of its own.
Mr Mayn says a report commissioned by the Union showed how port privatisation in Australia had led to major increases in port charges as private owners sought to recoup their investment.
These charges would be passed onto businesses and consumers, he says.
Mr Mayn says the Port of Auckland is making good returns and has a very positive future with its current ownership model.
“Privatisation of assets would lead to Aucklanders losing the family silver, and then facing increased costs through profit gouging at a private port.”
Mr Mayn says it makes no sense to be talking about major waterfront beautification projects on port land while at the same time claiming that the City was broke.
“The Maritime Union understands the pressures on Auckland’s finances, but selling off the prime assets of the City for a one-off sugar hit does not address the long term issues and would lead to all sorts of consequences.”
He says one immediate cost saving would be cancelling overseas consultants being paid hefty fees to build the privatisation case.