Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Not Smart Thinking

This blog was published as the lead letter  in the New  Zealand Herald Friday  9 March

The decision by the port company to contract out its workforce is not smart thinking . It is a very expensive folly that will not bring productivity  increases or increased dividends to Auckland City . The proud health and safety  record of the port could well disappear. Tauranga has had three workforce deaths within the last two  years whereas Auckland has had none.
New Zealand needs  a national port strategy and in our region a three port strategy   of Whangarei, Auckland and Tauranga linked with a fast rail network serving the region .This merger  would also break the power of the global shipping lines which are playing  each port off against each other and who  are not paying a realistic rate for port services and labour. This would allow for greater returns on investment  for communities . Perhaps Mayor Brown’s 12 % return would then become realistic.    Albany could be connected to the rail network with a station and a freight distribution centre which would reduce the number of trucks that clog our roads and Auckland would become the aspirational and  liveable city that Mayor Brown was elected to deliver .
Because this takes a national vision to achieve it is always easier to demonize a waterfront workforce  than make  rational decisions. We will probably  slip behind the East Coast Australian ports in performance. The poor  rate payers will be paying for this foolish decision of the Port Company and the mayor.