Hosking on POAL

’s editorial:

In a way, you can’t blame the wharfies for putting up the fight they are at the . I mean if you were being paid to do nothing, you would be looking to hang on to the deal, wouldn’t you?

Eight hours pay, three hours work – good on them for getting the deal. God only knows who was thick enough to sign it off, but the game’s up. The port is lacklustre. it’s losing business and money to other ports. Its reputation isn’t flash and at long last they’re looking to get things tidied up.

What a good summary.

The wharfies have lost. They don’t have the support of the company, of the council which owns them, they certainly don’t have the support of the Auckland ratepayers who are watching a company they own get destroyed, and they don’t have the support of the wider public. Through all the bluster and hot air and jibes at management pulled directly out of Arthur Scargill’s handbook on how to run a class ridden industrial dispute, they have been seen for what they are – a fiefdom on a deal from another age refusing to be realistic.

Even Len Brown doesn’t back them. The man who took their money to get elelcted sees it for what it is. He should have been playing a far greater role before it ever got to the state it’s in. Ports of Auckland is a major company with a major contribution to the economy of the biggest city in the country and it’s operating in a time warp. Business is leaving – Maersk has walked, Fonterra’s gone.

This even goes beyond Auckland. Reducing freight costs through more efficient ports and the like has benefits for all of New Zealand, especially exporters.

Where’s the council? The owners? The representatives of all the rate payers who have a stake in the business? The dividends are a joke compared to Tauranga. Do they think the port is a welfare scheme? A jobs programme? Why aren’t they demanding better performance and better returns? The answer is there – lay them off. Too many strikes, too many lock outs, too much disruption. Get rid of them and find some people that actually want to do the job.

We must thank for buying out the minority private sector answers, so ratepayers would be the only ones having to tolerate a return of just 2% on capital.

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