May 20, 2024

Is Santa Brown coming to town – or is port sale a plan fit for a Grinch?

The Mayor of Auckland has paid back a business class airfare to Australia from October, after visiting officials and politicians over the privatisation of port operations.

According to Council rules, short haul flights such as this have to be economy class, and the difference has been refunded by the Mayor.

Maritime Union of New Zealand National Secretary Craig Harrison says anyone can make a mistake, but the bigger picture of port privatization would cost Auckland ratepayers a lot more than a business class flight in the long run.

Mr Harrison says if the Port of Auckland is sold, it would be ‘Christmas every day’ for the new owners – as it had been in Australia, where extra port fees from private operators were hitting business and consumers hard.

“Every present under the Christmas tree will have a hefty price tag if a private port monopoly hits Auckland with decades of Grinch style price gouging.”

Mr Harrison says this Christmas, the Maritime Union is asking for a full and transparent release of figures as to how much the port sale plan is costing the ratepayer.

The Auckland Council has put port privatization out to consultation after a close vote earlier this month.

New Talbot Mills polling on behalf of the Maritime Union of New Zealand (MUNZ) released in December 2023 shows a vast majority of Aucklanders are against the proposal to privatise the Auckland Port – including a majority of voters for each of the current coalition government parties.

A suggested New Year Resolution for the Mayor?

“Leave the Port of Auckland in public ownership,” says Mr Harrison.

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