Lack of plan for maritime industry a serious problem

Maritime Union of New Zealand General Secretary Joe Fleetwood says recent statements from Minister of Transport Stephen Joyce and retiring Pacifica Shipping Chief Executive Rod Grout on New Zealand ports and shipping show the need for immediate action in the maritime industry.

Mr Fleetwood says it is incorrect for the National Government to say they want market forces decide the future of the maritime industry, when massive taxpayer investment was directed at roads and rail.

He says that a “hands off” approach to the maritime industry means major market players would dominate the market and make decisions that could harm New Zealand’s transport infrastructure.

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Timaru port meeting resounding success

Audience at Port of Timaru meeting, 17 September 2009

Over 100 local people attended a Timaru public meeting on the future of the port of Timaru on Thursday 17 September.

The meeting was called by the Maritime Union of New Zealand following a decision last month by Fonterra to stop exports from the port of Timaru, which has resulted in a massive loss of work for the port.

Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the meeting was a success.

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Public Meeting for Port of Timaru – Thursday 17 September 2009

The Maritime Union of New Zealand is hosting a public meeting on the future of the Port of Timaru. The meeting will be held at “Robbies” (Hibernian Hotel), Latter Street, Timaru on Thursday 17 September starting at 7.30pm sharp.

All concerned local people are invited to the meeting, including port workers, unions, business, industry, farmers, and all those concerned with the future of the port.

For more information see the Port of Timaru campaign website.

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Where does Minister of Transport Steven Joyce stand in regional ports furore?

The Maritime Union is asking where the Government and the Minister of Transport stands on the future of regional ports after Fonterra announced it was withdrawing from some regional ports in favour of transporting goods by long distance rail last month.

Jobs are under threat, casualization is hitting workers hard, and the viability of regional ports is under a cloud after the decision, which has created intense debate in the regions and the transport industry.

Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the union’s national executive met with a Fonterra representative earlier this week.

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Answers needed on KiwiRail – Fonterra deal

Cartoon courtesy of the Shipping Gazette
Cartoon courtesy of the Shipping Gazette

The Maritime Union has stepped up its demand for answers as fallout continues from Fonterra’s dumping of regional ports in favour of long distance rail – and the influence that state subsidies to KiwiRail may have had on any deal.

KiwiRail has waded into the growing debate over the fate of regional ports, as the implications of Fonterra’s withdrawal from ports in New Plymouth and Timaru becomes apparent.

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Fonterra milking New Zealand taxpayers

The Maritime Union has hit back at “socially irresponsible” Fonterra pulling out of regional ports and says the dairy giant’s profits are being subsidized by the taxpayer.

Maritime Union of New Zealand General Secretary Trevor Hanson says Fonterra has come out with “weak excuses” for its decision to pull out of some regional ports in favour of transporting products by long distance rail.

Mr Hanson says the future of the New Zealand transport industry seems to be in the hands of one man, Fonterra General Manager of Supply Chain Strategy Nigel Jones.

“Fonterra holds the fate of whole regional economies in their hands because of their size and influence, but seem to have no accountability to anyone but themselves.”

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Maritime Union highlights negative effects of Fonterra port pull out

The Maritime Union says regional ports have been hit hard because of a decision by Fonterra to rail goods to distant ports.

Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the moves have already led to notices of major redundancies in the port of Timaru, greater casualization of the workforce, and was threatening the viability of some ports.

“This issue cannot be dealt with by ports continuing to compete each other into the ground. It must be addressed by national co-ordination of our transport system, not the wasteful, insecure and chaotic mess we have at the moment.”

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