Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown is clearing the way to sell Ports of Auckland’s operating business while keeping the prime waterfront land in public hands.
Two weeks after Brown achieved a partial sale of the council’s shareholding in Auckland airport, the Herald can reveal that plans are well advanced to offload the city’s port business by selling an operating lease as early as next year.
“The beauty of it is Auckland Council is not selling anything,” one source told the Herald.
Secret plans to sell the port business got underway by former Mayor Phil Goff and senior council staff when global port operator DP World made an unsolicited $1 billion bid for the port in 2021.
Fresh from privatising the Airport and amputating Auckland for his Boomer supporters, the Boomer King now turns his attention to selling off our Port in his never ending crusade to sell everything not nailed down.
The Union has been painfully clear regarding Wayne’s new plans for privatisation…
The Maritime Union says any privatization of the Ports of Auckland would be a disaster for Auckland.
The Union was responding to the upcoming release of Council commissioned reviews into the future of the ports, and media reports of the possibility of an operating lease for the Ports going to a global operator.
Maritime Union of New Zealand National Secretary Craig Harrison says relinquishing control of Auckland’s key strategic asset would be a “lose lose situation” for ratepayers, workers and businesses.
“The Australian experience is privatisation of port operations creates another layer of management costs and profit-taking for no real benefits.”
Mr Harrison says potential outcomes could include customers facing higher terminal charges, infrastructure being run down, workers’ pay and conditions being attacked, and a lack of accountability by overseas equity investors.
“The risks of going down this path are massive, and the only beneficiaries in the long term would be the new owners.”
Mr Harrison says the “one off sugar hit” of privatization would soon wear off if the Port was permitted to effectively become a private monopoly.
“Splitting off leased port operations from land ownership does not change the fact the Ports would be privatized and the new owner would have huge leverage over Auckland.”
Mr Harrison says the dependence of New Zealand on global shipping lines during the COVID pandemic created major problems for New Zealand business, with delays, congestion and price hikes.
He says as there is no strategic plan for New Zealand ports, the entry of Global Network Terminal operators would have similar implications and could destabilize the national supply chain.
Mr Harrison says after years of mismanagement, the Ports of Auckland has recently turned the corner in performance.
He says historic problems were a result of previous port management’s hostile approach to its workforce and the flawed automation project.
“New management and the union workforce are now working in a constructive and positive way, and with the cancellation of the automation project, the Ports are back on track delivering to Auckland.”
Mr Harrison says there is not wide support for privatization and most ratepayers do not want to see key assets sold off.
“Our advice for Auckland Council is to leave the Ports to get on with the job without continually moving the goalposts.”
Mr Harrison says the Maritime Union welcomed today’s statement from the Mayor that he was open minded about the outcome of the current review, and that he would be engaging with stakeholders including the Union.
The Maritime Union of New Zealand represents the majority of the workforce at Ports of Auckland.
…Wayne Brown is so bad he makes Paula Bennett look preferable.
How bad a Mayor do you have to be to make Paula Bennett, the architect of the flawed State House Meth testing fiasco that needlessly cost over $100million look preferable?
That buyers remorse many Aucklanders feel at the damage the Boomer King is causing should remember what a privatised Mayoralty election deeply rigged against poor people’s participation does to the quality of our Democracy.
Boomers elected a tyrant to protect their interests, younger Aucklanders need to remember that at the next election.
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