Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: A storm in any port

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  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Sacha,

    Beefing up Northport and rail links on the other hand..

    and we already own Northport. Plus the rail line has always been there just severely neglected now and, out to Northport would be cost beneficial. Actually I have to agree with the term being a frequent driver myself,and it is for holiday travelling, but also as an aside, dealing with truckies with regard container movement up to the Far North, is absolutely easy to achieve and I is little fish.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    When Hooton’s damning Rodney Hide’s Super City design as anti-democratic, you really do know there’s a problem.

    Indeed. Although with iPredict I can't tell if these guys haven't all just turned into degenerate gamblers, losing all real interest in the outcome except in so far as having picked it is concerned.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10488 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Luke Williamson,

    Are there ever substantial traffic delays between Puhoi and Wellsford outside holiday periods?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5528 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Indeed. Fixing blackspots doesn’t have to cost billions. The real issues are about palace-building, cronyism, and the interests of the few at the expense of the many.


    and what more reason for reducing those charges does the govt need?

    For the same reasons no one in Britain dared challenge Rupert Murdoch at his peak – until the Spews of the World scandal erupted. I wonder what the trucking equivalent would be – ‘trucks of convenience’, health & safety scandals, Gulf War III, who knows?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5312 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Are there ever substantial traffic delays between Puhoi and Wellsford outside holiday periods?

    As long as one doesn't go on the Friday avo of a long weekend I have no problems. The Dome is the bitch if we encounter any road accident. When I used to commute from Warkworth back in the day, it was 45-50 mins. Now, maybe 40.Trucks like to get out of Auckland heading North on friday by 3. I have analyzed this and if you get behind one to Whangarei you can save $15. We actually stayed with some to Mangonui and saved $25 in gas. And made record time in travelling too. 2 lanes is good so a bit of maintenance to enact that would surely be sufficient for faster cars to overtake if that's the fancy and more trucks if that's the fancy. That's enough eh?

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Are there ever substantial traffic delays between Puhoi and Wellsford outside holiday periods?

    That's a very significant point. Here in Kapiti, we face another of these Roads of National Party Significance, and the issue is similar. The problem used to be holidays and evening rush hour between Paraparaumu and Waikanae (never in the morning, oddly enough). Since the commuter train was extended to Waikanae, there no longer is a problem on that stretch as all the people who used to drive to Paraparaumu to catch the train can now catch it at Waikanae. The only problem seems to be Friday night when a bunch of out of towners come up to their baches (cribs to you Southrons) and even that's not too bad.

    Holiday weekends are another issue and we do need another road for that, or at least another river crossing on the Waikanae and some major work at Otaki (now delayed by about 4 years by NZTA). But the breakdown of traffic other than holidays shows only 30% of it actually passes through the Kapiti district, 30% is purely internal and the remainder either stops or starts in the district (mostly commuter to Wellington and that road is fine until you hit Ngauranga).

    The griping you hear about the "bloody Kapiti roads" mostly come from people going to or returning from their holidays, so "holiday highway" is quite appropriate.

    ETA speeling

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2788 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Just revisiting Fran O'Sullivan's January column in which she greets the dispute as foreshadowing privatisation. She seems to find it intolerable that democratically elected councils should have a view on the use of public assets.

    But I think it's most interesting for the fact that it channels the case these people were making amongst themselves.

    The Auckland Council doesn't directly drive Ports of Auckland.

    Its 100 per cent shareholding is held through Auckland Council Investments Limited (ACIL) which in turn appoints the ports company directors.

    This governance structure was carefully thought through and set-up so the ports company could operate in a commercial fashion without political interference by either the mayor or councillors at operational level.

    ACIL is chaired by well-known businessman Simon Allen. Allen is a smooth operator. The former investment banker chairs the Financial Markets Authority and Crown Fibre Holdings.

    Allen and his board reviewed the makeup of the Ports of Auckland board in late 2010. Rob Campbell, Liz Coutts, Richard Pearson and Wayne Walden were appointed as directors joining existing board members Graeme Hawkins and Andrew Bonner.

    Pearson was subsequently elected as chairman. Pearson has extensive experience in port operations and investment around the world, returning to New Zealand following a long career with Hutchison Port Holdings Group, most recently as managing director, Hong Kong International Terminals Ltd (1996-1998) and managing director, Europe division, president ECT Rotterdam (1998-2007).

    The Pearson appointment should have signalled to all but the deliberately obtuse Allen's intention that Ports of Auckland should mean business.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22227 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Willie Jackson has handed POAL's PR team tomorrow's headline.

    Helen Kelly et al have been consistent and disciplined on picket-line behaviour. Now he's calling for some biffo.

    The tragic thing is, he undoubtedly believes he's helping.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22227 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Ok, who gains here?
    The Port may, or may not, gain some efficiency in terms of stuff moved for cash spent. You still need people to move that stuff. Now, where do I get to be buyin’ me some people?

    Who Ya Gonna Call?
    Allied Work Force, that’s who!.

    "This is a cash business: We make real money, not paper money. The board has said if there’s nothing within the company to invest it in, we’ll pay it out and that’s what we intend to do.”

    Allied Workforce has workers in a range of industries broadly classed as “blue collar”. It specialises in short notice and contract work, and has 8000 workers on the books. Of these, Mr Hull said, there was a core of about 2000 workers who were almost exclusively full time. Workers are employees of Allied Workforce, which contracts them out to its clients.

    Allied Workforce has also expanded to 21 branch offices, with another four planned. “Some of our clients are now using us nationwide.”

    Mr Hull attributes this to more businesses employing a casual labour force, with ACC figures showing the casual workforce has grown by 56 per cent in the four years to 2004.

    Up to one-third of the workforce is now employed in casual or part-time positions.

    Hmmm, so they show up well in ACC figures?.
    Well, it beats Slaving-for-a-living

    Dang’s was the latest in a string of successful prosecutions resulting from a Labour Department investigation into illegal labour in the horticulture and viticulture industries.

    The inquiry, led by the Immigration Service fraud section, has stretched for four years and unveiled a sordid world of violence and exploitation amounting to modern-day slavery.

    Dang was a sub-contractor/supervisor for a Hastings company, Contract Labour Services (CLS), a subsidiary of the publicly listed company Allied Work Force. The directors of CLS Michael Porter, Miles Elliot, Dharminder Singh (known as “Bubbly”) and Surjit Singh (known as “Uncle”) will appear in the Napier District Court next month for a depositions hearing.

    Each faces 28 counts identical to those faced by Dang.

    Allied Work Force managing director Simon Hull and chief financial officer David Sutherland are to give evidence for the prosecution.

    And if you make the Grade who knows where you might find yourself…

    A Tauranga man killed when he was run over by a grader has been described as a very skilled worker with a lot of roading experience.

    He worked for Allied Work Force and was contracted out to another company.

    Huddleston said the man, originally from Argentina, had worked for the company for around 18 months.

    So everything is tickety boo then?

    Allied Work Force Group (AWF) is forecasting a record group revenue and profit for the year to March 2011.

    AWF expected group revenue to exceed the previous year’s result of $70.3 million by more than 30 percent.

    Just gotta chase that hard earned money, eh Boy?.
    So, Union bad because it extracts dues from it’s members and represents their interests, Employment “Agency” good because it has better workers. What do you think?.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Sometimes It's hard to know who you work for

    Allied was a labour hire company that had a casual employment agreement with McDonald. He was sent on his first placement by Allied in September 2006 and he worked for various clients thereafter. In March 2007, McDonald was placed with Ontrack as a trainee track repairer with a spot re-sleeper gang.

    McDonald worked with the gang for eight months. During that period, Allied supplied his weekly wages, pay slips, and paid holiday pay on a ‘pay as you go’ basis. Other than that, Allied had no contact with McDonald.

    Ontrack provided McDonald with training, an in-house staff booklet, safety equipment, and paid him a tax-free overnight accommodation allowance. McDonald was under Ontrack’s control and he was expected to notify them if he was unable to work due to sickness...
    ...an Ontrack supervisor advised McDonald of the termination of his placement.

    So, there is a difference between "Who you work for" and "Who pays you" so who looks after your rights? You got it , nobody.

    The Authority determined that Ontrack did not terminate McDonald’s employment, rather it ended its commercial arrangement with Allied for his placement.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to llew 40,

    I'm just not convinced that the nature of the owner (i.e. public or private) is the primary factor in good or bad organisational performance.

    Well put.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19413 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,


    "I want to make it clear that when I say 'militant action', I'm talking about taking a stance on an issue in a strong but non-violent manner, in the way that Lucy Lawless took a stance recently with Greenpeace," Jackson said.

    "As I said very clearly in today's broadcast, I do not advocate violence."

    and what he said earlier:

    "You don't go stop and then the scabs come in and they take your jobs. Go and bust your picket or your placard on their cars. I support that action."


    Jackson told port workers to harass port chairman Richard Pearson to get a result.

    "I'm into militant action. Go and occupy. If I was them I'd go and sit on that Pearson's car, right. I'd sit on his car, occupy his car. Occupy his office. Occupy everywhere. Do what you have to do."

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19413 posts Report Reply

  • Tristan,

    Yes we see this a lot with contracting out. Remember when phone technicians at telecom disputed their pay and conditions telecom said it was an issue with their contracted company and nothing to do with them. Even though telecom was the one
    screwing down the contract to visionstream which passed that on to employees. Companies absolving themselves of responsibility with bits of paper from the companies office is pretty shamefull

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 220 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Hooton, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Russell - there is no doubt at all that they do, in fact, work together.

    Read this document: http://www.waterfrontauckland.co.nz/aucklandwaterfront/media/PDFfiles/waterfrontPlan/05WP_Port.pdf

    If you don't have time for the whole thing, here are some highlights:

    "This strategy sets out Waterfront Auckland’s support for POAL’s local and international port and logistics activities. Auckland’s Port is a crucial part of regional and national supply chain infrastructure that is required for the foreseeable future. We are therefore committed to working closely with POAL to ensure that it retains the ability to facilitate future trade growth as required to support an efficient Auckland and New Zealand supply chain.”

    “Waterfront Auckland believes that it is possible for Auckland to have both waterfront redevelopment and a major and growing port located within its wider CBD waterfront.”

    “We will work with POAL to ensure that future development of the Port area on the Auckland Waterfront is aligned with the objectives of the Waterfront Plan, and the key projects and developments proposed in the Waterfront Plan.”

    “For the reasons outlined earlier in Section 4.5.1, and recognising the vital role that POAL plays in both the Auckland and national supply chains and economies, Waterfront Auckland supports Scenario 1, i.e. continued growth and development of the Auckland port in its current location on the waterfront.”

    “We will continue to work closely with POAL to seek to agree on a Plan that meets the needs and objectives of all stakeholders.”

    It is outrageous they wanted to sue me and NBR (and demand costs!) for suggesting they were in collusion and allies. Of course they are. And I am grateful to Barry Colman at the NBR for standing up to them.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 184 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX,

    Willie Jackson is as big a patsy as Len Brown - they are both stupid people out of their depth, they do however show that the witless can prevail - never overlook the power of stupidity coupled with determination and self-interest.

    Len Brown if he had gonads - which we now know he does not possess - should have looked to, if he had the greater interest of Auckland at heart, chair/facilitate a mediated process of weeks duration not hours. What a limp wrested load of hand wringing bollocks - IMHO.

    You will begin to see evolve in industrial relations the role of bargaining agents concluding agreements – that are workplace or site based - rather than unions representing workers in collective bargaining.

    It is highly likely that some of the bargaining agents will be to a greater or lesser degree associated with the once, twice or thrice removed employer groupings – like say POAL - engaging AWF to engage the casual work force that the bargaining agents will represent.

    With the rise of bargaining agents and the demise of the union movement PG and other claims will be weakened and costly for workers to pursue, funding for the Labour Party will decline and workers will not be able to get representation on the wide range of issues that affect them. The knowledge and the skill to fight for workers rights will be distilled down to nothing – it isn’t far of it now.

    The wider union movement should have put on a far better showing at the march in support of MUNZ – the EPMU hardly had a presence – they must have over 30 Reps in Auckland so you would have expected some sort of presence and the PSA – well I understand they sent an e-mail out to members/reps some time after 5.00 PM last Friday asking them to march in support of MUNZ.

    So what we are getting is a political environment where the opposition is hobbled/nobbled and effectively a one party state emerges – the founder of which will be First Citizen John Key the First – he is so great – look at how his natural adversaries are in a state of permanent and terminal disarray - the token opposition.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1223 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Comparing the ongoing Auckland dispute with the 1998 Aussie one, which is probably the closest precedent...

    - Patrick Corp was unconditionally backed by the Howard Lib-Nat Govt during the Aussie dispute.
    - The Key Govt is largely sitting back and letting PoAL do most of the dirty work, although Key himself came across as excessively Pollyanna-ish.

    - Patrick Corp used company law loopholes in an attempt to bust and lockout the MUA - a move which got successfully injuncted against by the MUA in the federal High Court. A middle-ground solution was eventually reached.
    - By using direct contractorisation, PoAL is circumventing anti-strikebreaking laws to reach the same ends. One employment lawyer reckons litigation by the union might be a pyrrhic victory. Another says strikebreaking is illegal, but redundancy is not. Our Graeme could enlighten us here.

    - To the best of my knowledge, the Aussie dispute was largely domestic.
    - The recent show of global solidarity in the Auckland dispute seems unprecedented, even for 1951.

    How much worse could things get? Probably worse still, but it'll likely remain a civil matter. Definitely nowhere near as bad as 1951, where a state of emergency was declared and the army called in, or in Britain in 1984, where Thatcher threw the full force of the bobbies against the striking miners.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5312 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Well, we could look at the London Dockers’ Strikeof 1889, or even the Match Strike. And no I do not jest…
    The Matchgirls Strike and the work of one Beatrice Potter (not to be confused with Beatrix Potter How do ya mime a puddle dock? , fuggedit)

    Beatrice Potter was one of those who observed these events: “The dock strike becoming more and more exciting – even watched at a distance. Originally 500 casuals marched out of the West and East India Docks – in another day the strike spread to the neighbouring docks – in a week half East London was out. For the first time a general strike of labour, not on account of the vast majority of strikers, but to enforce the claims to a decent livelihood of some 3,000 men. The hero of the scene, John Burns the socialist, who seems for the time to have the East London working men at his feet, with Ben Tillett as his lieutenant and ostensible representative of the dockers."

    The Ausie connection was nothing to do with James (Keir) Hardie went on to make his fortune in Asbestos sheeting and starting the leaky homes scandal, no wait…

    In January, 1866, Hardie’s younger brother was dying and after spending most of the night looking after him, he arrived late for work. His employer sacked him and also fined him a week’s wages as a punishment for his unpunctuality. Unable to find work in Glasgow, the family moved back to Lanarkshire, and at the age of eleven, Hardie became a coal miner.

    Ah, the good old days eh?.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    To the best of my knowledge, the Aussie dispute was largely domestic.

    That's my best recollection, though the International Transport Workers Federation did organise a boycott of Australian produce in the US, for which they were condemned by then ALP leader Kim Beazley.

    Britain in 1984, where Thatcher threw the full force of the bobbies against the striking miners.

    One of the most memorable aspects of the Australian dispute was the restraint shown by state police. At the time when picket lines were expected to be forcibly broken, and the farm lobby was calling for the army to be deployed, over 100 Sydney cops were supposed to have called in sick. The NSW police in particular had their own industrial issues at the time, but when the expected, and no doubt hoped for by the Howard Government confrontations fizzled, the impression was one of tacit police solidarity with the wharfies.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4512 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,


    The Aussies backed the Poms back then...

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    One of the most memorable aspects of the Australian dispute was the restraint shown by state police.

    I think we will see similar things happening here. With jonkey’s latest offering of Steven Joyce, CEO of NZ, as the head of a “Super Ministry” I can see a lack of interest in supporting the “Powers That Be” coming to a Town near you soon.
    With Police expenditure on the cuts list I can’t see a lot of enthusiasm for slapping down the ” Ünderclass”

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Regarding international solidarity precedents, I was referring to NZ-based industrial disputes. But yeah, global solidarity isn't new.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5312 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    I think we will see similar things happening here. With jonkey’s latest offering of Steven Joyce, CEO of NZ, as the head of a “Super Ministry” I can see a lack of interest in supporting the “Powers That Be” coming to a Town near you soon.
    With Police expenditure on the cuts list I can’t see a lot of enthusiasm for slapping down the ” Ünderclass”

    I suspect it’s as much about cuts as it is about making Prostetnic Vogon Joyce even more of a Kiwi Dick Cheney.

    And to all those who wanted fewer ‘bureaucrats’, I can safely say things are starting to go horribly right. Who’da thought? Duncan Garner commenting: “these are all real people with real families, real bills…”
    And MFAT “leaking like a sieve with massive holes in it” is just the tip of the iceberg.

    Also mention of $340,000 paid to private consultants to tell public servants facing the sack to relax with a pet. He also doubts ‘kiwi mums & dads’ could afford the asset sale shares.

    All while pet projects with potentially massive overruns get little or no scrutiny. And above all… who audits the auditors?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5312 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    It's not so much the inaction that is Brown's problem - rather that he campaigned as the Mayor to counter the ideological constructs of the SuperCity creation. He's now been shown up as completely constricted by them and either unwilling or unable to go around them.
    As far as I can see, the only way to really get around this is for the Council (not just the one vote of the Mayor) to convince the ACIL Board that they will pass resolutions to dump them if they don't in turn put pressure on the POAL Board to direct their management to tone down their approach. That's a lot of interim levers with some pretty serious calls to be made. And I suspect there's some fish-hooks in the legislation that requires the Council to have quite specific reasons to be able to do that. The "motions to support" currently being talked about are, at best, weak indicators of intention.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    An insight into Council's relationship with central Govt.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

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