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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.”

Read more

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.”

Read more

Ports of Auckland under threat from secret SuperCity agenda

The Maritime Union says it is concerned about the intentions of the Government towards Auckland’s public assets under the proposed SuperCity.

The union represents several hundred workers at the Ports of Auckland, which provides a major income to the people of Auckland who own the port through the Auckland Regional Council.

Maritime Union Local 13 Secretary Russell Mayn says there has been an ongoing “softening up” campaign from big business interests to sell off the Ports of Auckland so they can get their hands on them.

He says there is serious cause for concern that the SuperCity plan for Auckland’s local government will be used to push forward privatization of assets – including the port.

Read more

Fonterra and shipping companies held up to scrutiny

The Maritime Union’s comments on the effect on ports of decisions by Fonterra and shipping companies have featured widely in the news.

TVNZ reports that “the Maritime Union of New Zealand is calling for national co-ordination of port strategy, arguing that Fonterra is exerting such power as a customer it is effectively rationalising the port industry.”

The Taranaki Daily News writes that “Zealand’s waterfront workers and seafarers have savaged Fonterra’s decision to drop Port Taranaki, warning it has the potential to ‘rip the guts out’ of the port” following a “a bombshell decision last week, the dairy giant said it would be railing Whareroa product to Auckland and Tauranga instead.”

Read more

Regional ports at mercy of Fonterra and shipping companies

The Maritime Union says Fonterra’s decision to stop shipping containerized exports through Port Taranaki and Port Timaru was an example of how entire regional economies within New Zealand were being disrupted.

The recent announcement by Fonterra means the loss of 25,000 boxes of cargo to Port Taranaki in New Plymouth, and the loss of 24,000 boxes to Port Timaru annually.

Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the “overnight decisions” by Fonterra and major shipping companies are harming regional communities and regional ports through a process of “destructive competition” where ports experienced major and unpredictable changes in shipments.

Read more