Just how despicable are these corporate bankers – and their council minions?

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It’s a rhetorical question I know but further confirmation these parasitical life forms are as bad as we always knew came this week.

In December 2021, under former mayor Lianne Dalziel, Christchurch City Council commissioned a report on the performance of Christchurch City Holdings Limited (CCHL) which holds and manages the council’s shares in Christchurch Airport, the Lyttelton Port Company, Enable fibre broadband company and the city’s service maintenance company City Care.

And who did they ask to do the review?

Investment bankers of course. This time it was Northington Partners (see the PS at the end of this blog for an earlier example)

And what did Northington Partners say? The council should sell its assets – at least up to 49%. A bogus projected 70% increase in rates over the next 10 years was used as a shock/horror figure to create fear and panic to drive asset sales. It’s a simple Business-Roundtable-textbook approach, the same approach being used by new Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown for asset sales there.

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Needless to say none of the new mayors or councillors advocated asset sales before the election – knowing how deeply unpopular they are with the public. But as soon as their feet are under the table they are like kids with a dollar coin burning a hole in their pocket. They can’t wait to privatise so the wealthiest New Zealanders can have access to the lucrative dividends from these monopoly blue-chip companies – at the expense of the rest of us.

The so-called “independent review” by Northington Partners is anything but. It is speaking on behalf of a sector which for decades has been trying to “deepen Aotearoa New Zealand’s capital markets” through the privatisation of government and local body assets.

It is Northington Partners corporate clients who would be the beneficiaries of council asset sales.

Included in their report, and confirmation they have never done an honest day’s work in their lives, Northington Partners blames the “highly unionised workforce” for claimed underperformance of the Lyttelton Port Company.

The joint media release from the Maritime Union of New Zealand and Rail and Maritime Transport Union shows just how venal, shallow and nasty the NP report is:

Joint media release Maritime Union of New Zealand – Rail and Maritime Transport Union FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday 9 December 2022

Workers at Ports of Lyttelton have strongly rejected an attack on their work in a privatisation report to the Christchurch City Council.

LPC workers are members of the Maritime Union of New Zealand (MUNZ) and the Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU).

A report on Christchurch City Holdings Limited and its companies compiled by Northington Partners was released this week.

The report states LPC is underperforming – and suggests this is due to a “highly unionised workforce.”

Maritime Union of New Zealand National Secretary Craig Harrison says there are around six hundred port workers in Lyttelton who deliver to the people of Christchurch and Canterbury, the majority being LPC employees.

Despite the report stating productivity issues are ‘outside scope’ and were ‘not analysed’, it offers a view based on ‘initial observations and stakeholder feedback.’
No sources for these observations or feedback are provided.
Mr Harrison says this is unacceptable.

He says a reference to the Port of Tauranga as a preferred employment model shows an absolute lack of understanding of serious problems in the ports industry.

Mr Harrison says the outsourcing employment model at Port of Tauranga has had very poor outcomes for workers.

“One of the worst impacts has been employees of contracting stevedores having unhealthy and dangerous shift patterns, which has disrupted family life, health and safety.”

“The implied support in the report for contracting out labour – obviously to reduce wages and conditions – contradicts the Corporate Social Responsibility model that CCHL organizations must abide by.”

Mr Harrison says these contracting out issues have been widely covered in the media and recognised nationally in 2022 in two ways.

A recent Employment Court decision requires a large private stevedore in Tauranga to change its operations to acknowledge workers ‘availability’ to protect their work/life balance and right to family life.

In addition, the national ports industry has just announced national ports health and safety guidelines which focus on the impact of fatigue due to shift work.

Rail and Maritime Transport Union General Secretary Todd Valster says he is unimpressed with the logic used the report which is clearly a roadmap for privatisation.
“We need to maintain our local assets and defend them against the privatisation agenda.”

Mr Valster says the report makes an error in trying to draw simplistic comparisons between Lyttelton and other ports like Tauranga, when size and many other variables influence outcomes.

“It is dangerous when people without a deep knowledge of the ports industry start setting themselves up as experts in port productivity.”

Mr Valster says the primary outcome for a port must always be whether it is serving its purpose as key infrastructure.

“The benefits LPC provides as a reliable import/export hub for industry are enormous.”

The Northington Partners report is typical of craven corporate bankers who aim to scratch every itch of their wealthy bludging clients.

We should treat their advice with the scorn it deserves.

PS: Lianne Dalziel had taken the same approach earlier in her mayoralty when she asked notorious privatisers Cameron Partners to go over the city finances and produce a report on the basis of which Dalziel wanted to “release $600 million in capital” – in other words to sell assets – to avoid what was claimed as a future billion-dollar budget blowout. The figures were bogus of course and after a spirited community fightback Dalziel backed down.

15 COMMENTS

  1. It’s moments like these you need Minto’s. Great article. This stuff is opaque to most voters who become fixated on their tax or rates bill and miss the bigger picture of what’s going on. It is simple asset stripping by very smart and motivated individuals who can work around a lack of democratic mandate with ease.

    • What’s your definition of ‘smart’?
      Is it to do with intelligence?. Or maybe a response to stimulus?, Or maybe things like the instinct for survival – as in the cunning we see in shithouse rats.

  2. Lianne Dalziel should be charged with treason. Never thought I’d praise Sideshow Bob but he only underinsured assets. Let’s see if Mauger has any integrity…

    • He hasn’t. He will be just like the rest: say whatever it takes to get elected by the plebs then once in power he will be worker with and for the rich only

      scumbags the lot of them

  3. Lianne Dalziel – Lianne Audrey Dalziel is a New Zealand politician and former Mayor of Christchurch. Prior to this position, she was a member of the New Zealand Parliament for 23 years, serving as Minister of Immigration, Commerce, Minister of Food Safety and Associate Minister of Justice in the Fifth Labour Government.

    Oh well, it is all ok, its a Labour Person doing this shit, and it only matters when non Labour Persons doing that shit.
    Ditto Rotorua who also got ramraided and shat on by a Labour Person.
    Maybe its just that when these people get used to living on the government tit that they forget what ever principles they had when they joined politics, and that is assuming that they had any other principles then getting a good pay for not much work.
    Labour – National, same thing, different color.

  4. I am not to old to change my option. I used to think as Chch holding company returned 1 per cent dividend it made sense to sell but then it was explained that those buying would put up the prices to make a profit hence not a winning move .The only way it would work is if savings could be made in the running of the various company and they got their return that way

  5. It sounds like that they’ve all schooled themselves up on Blackrock Inc’s play-book on how to manufacture a Crisis to have a ‘FireSale!’

  6. Off topic John but just as despicable as this !

    Adern promised open and transparent government in 2017. But the reality is different.

    ” Her office has rejected an Official Information Act request by RNZ for briefings to Ardern ahead of any meetings with the companies Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft, DCI, Datagrid, CDC, Lake Parime/ Simply Energy, Google Cloud, Salesforce, Catalyst Cloud, CCL and Datacom.

    Previously released documents show many of the companies have been strongly lobbying ministers for support.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/480529/datacentres-in-nz-pm-s-office-rejects-oia-request-on-briefings-over-plans

  7. Firstly, labour’s not labour. Start with Adern and move backwards to lange and douglas. Labour hasn’t been Labour since those traitors donned their neoliberal lizard skins.
    The thing that’s referred to as ‘labour’ today is precisely national 2.0. There’s nothing at all Labour about today’s thing that calls itself ‘Labour’. Today’s labor is a con artist wearing a disguise. It’s a fake. A lie. Today’s labor is a weak greedy coward hiding behind Big Daddy business leaders like the spineless little oily rat of a thing it is who loves to have the sweaty hands of billionaires down its undies.
    Let’s try some fresh-air reality. We’re leaderless. Lets be clear about that. Lets be real, and honest. Come on? Be honest. We’re literally leaderless. Adern’s a third choice second AD on a B grade film of a remake of a broadway musical that failed at the box office because the lead role couldn’t be filled because no one could find anyone boring enough to play the role. Or cheap enough. 38 years since dirty little roger the stunted moustache douglas bleached old Labour out of existence. Old Labour, the, by the people, for the people Labour is dead in a shallow grave under a foreign owned bank. Its old body’s decayed beyond redemption, hollowed out by rich maggots let in by the terminally stupid.
    If we don’t watch it we’ll become someone else’s country and that someone else will be almost unimaginably rich and those who are now the working class with be living in a horror not unlike Mad Max, Idiocracy and Mars Attacks combined but without the laughs.
    Royal Commission of Inquiry immediately into our politics, our economy and the players involved.
    Steven Minto wrote here that inflation isn’t one of a shortage of money but rather one of over pricing.
    What does that say to you? To me, it says dumb fucks scramble to cash in on the false economy of borrowed money while our export industry keeps the real wheels turning.
    And do you know what that’ll mean ultimately? Yep. You suckers with your $150 K German cars, leverage against your mortgages will soon learn all about living rough while boat loads of americans will float in ahead of their new normal summer weather of 50c plus.

  8. again I repeat and again there will be no answer…name one privatised publc service that is cheaper and more efficient.
    I know kiwis used to see telecom as a frustrating joke…have you tried the vodafone helpline a startling example of business efficiency…actually I’m not being quite fair as their business model is ‘piss off the customer’

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