After privatising Auckland Airport, the Boomer King returns to devour our Port

Mr Sulky Pants

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown following up sale of Auckland Airport shares by putting Ports of Auckland on the block

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.

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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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  1. Hmm, Mike Lee said this would happen when he made his filibuster speech during the council debate on the selling of the Airport shares. Might be time for Mike Lee to have another guest blog on this site, so as we can get an insiders view as to what is happening in the Auckland Council at the moment.

    • I would second that. Hard to find people who are practical on the left these days, and not consumed by echo chamber woke ideology.

      • snz it’s harder to find a practical person on the right who isn’t consumed by hatred, malice and stupidity from their rightard echo chamber

  2. There is only one word to describe Wayne Brown and other neoliberals, and that is treasonous.

    The likes of Roger Douglas, Ruth Richardson, and Brown need to face tribunals and be given appropriate sentences for their high treason to this nation.

    • Mohammed,
      All of the people named were elected on the basis they would reform the economy. Roger Douglas was re-elected in 1987 with a bigger majority. National was re-elected in 1993. Wayne Brown was elected to restore Auckland’s finances. In short all had a specific electoral mandate to do what they did.
      There are many here who decry “neoliberalism” and that it is the great betrayal of New Zealanders. However the parties that have implemented it keep getting re-elected. Those who oppose it are in the electoral margins.
      This is what democracy means; those who are elected into power get to implement their policies.

      • Yes good on Mayor Brown getting on with things,doing good things for Ackland’s rate payers.

        • BUT bob the lefty what do we do when the last of the family silver is pawned? sensible answer please

          • What should have happened before we got so far down the shitter and close to dead arse broke as the city is, control costs and stop spending on ‘wants’ rather than ‘needs’.

            • Perhaps if the Nat government actually spent on the needs rather than wanting not to pre 2017, our country wouldn’t be fucked today, let alone Auckland.

      • Absolute nonsense Wayne. The lying media which hid the murderous policies you support should be right there in the dock beside the likes of Douglas.

      • Proposterous to assert that people voted *for* job cuts, underfunding, corporate welfare, exploitation, unfettered profit gouging, homelessness, pay cuts, rising crime when these are the results we have experienced from nearly 40 years of neoliberalism.
        Just ridiculous.
        Politicians lie Wayne. That’s how they get elected.

      • Bollocks, 1984 Labour did not publicly campaign on Rogernomics–“swinging a wrecking ball through the provinces, works, forestry and manufacturing, opening up public infrastructure to penetration by private capital, and flogging off taxpayer built assets”.

    • It was dead in the water, well, that is until Brown came along and resurrected the plan.

    • Ada, do you live in Auckland? I’m thinking you don’t. So quick history lesson for you. Goff did indeed do costings for the sale of PoA. However it soon became apparent that was unpalatable to the general public. So the decision was made to lease the PoA. Brown scuttled that deal in his first week on the job. Now we are back to selling the PoA. So there you have it, there will be no more need for you to embarrass yourself with straw man arguments.

          • Not sure how it does that diversion, gagarin

            Ports of Auckland is not well-run at present by the CCO. E.g. – the port automation project, and it delivers very little profit to the council owners to the value of the land.
            Alternatives should be explored because it is Aucklanders who are missing out on a decent revenue stream, which could fund lots of good causes.

            • Ha. Oh God @ ada…. What can I write…
              Actually, not much. You’ve already shot yourself in both feet, you’re writing as though we were all born yesterday, your writing style suggests you wear polyester slippers and have a funny smell about you.
              rogers days are done, we just have to have the bleach ready for the carpet after he falls face down.
              Sooner or later, Aye Boys.
              Johnny Cash.
              God’s gonna cut you down.

        • And do you understand that Goff and Brown are different people? So how is this got anything to do with him after he ditched the idea? Because if that’s your low bar for blame, then let me suggest that it’s all John Banks fault. Wasn’t he actually responsible for actual sales of council owned waterfront land?

  3. I used to care and then Auckland Transport, tasked with keeping Auckland flowing but has made it infinitely worse, started spending money like it was Michael Wood, or water, both of which are interchangeable, like on judder bars and traffic lights where they weren’t needed and millions on T3 cameras where there was already 99% compliance and the list goes on, and suddenly I thought, it either has to stop or we start selling shit to pay its bills.

    So what do you want?

    It does make a change when a publicly elected official actually understand public money is not a bottomless pit. Loving Wayne btw! No regrets. None whatsoever.

  4. Martyn – But what would Phil Goff do…A) Sell those assets B) Increase rates greatly C) Do both…I am picking C)

      • Maybe irrelevant but it does show Mayor Brown has the courage to do things to arrest runaway rates rises.
        Goff another career politician.

        • He is fiscally irresponsible as shown by having to walk back the selling of airport shares.

          Phil Goff…
          Goff was born and raised in Three Kings, Auckland.[3] His family was very poor, and his father wanted Goff to enter the workforce immediately after finishing high school. Goff, however, wished to attend university, a decision that caused him to leave home when only sixteen years old. By working at Westfield Freezing Works[4] and as a cleaner, Goff was able to fund himself through university, gaining an MA (with first class honours) in political studies at the University of Auckland.[5] In 1973, he was Senior Scholar in Political Studies, and also won the Butterworth Prize for law.[6] While completing his MA, he lectured in Political Studies.

          Brown has a bachelor of Engineering.

          Question, what is the relevance of being a career politician as opposed to someone who isn’t?

          My preference is for someone like Goff who knows politics compared to an Engineer who clearly doesn’t.

          Regardless it is irrelevant Brown is responsible for his actions, courageous or stupidity, not Goff.

            • Can we vote for neither?

              Engineers believe everything can be remedied by shitloads of concrete and climate change and nature can be discarded, men of his generation often have a God complex too (however modern engineers seem more dangerous as are paper pushers who know nothing and buy their degree with participation certificates – seriously not good outcome for the future),

              and Goff with his political studies seem to be a mixture of God Complex, woke, right wing and Intellectual Yet Idiot.

              Similarity between them is politicians with God Complexes!

              Saying that, Brown is better than Goff – because he is less ideological.

            • engineer= practical and insular but politically inept.
              politician= background in law and has an understanding due to his political studies…
              I choose politician

        • Go back to how many staff they used to have and all the services they lost from 20 years ago would be an easy fix.

          The Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance says the number of Auckland Council staff paid more than $200,000 has increased by 32% since the year ended 30 June 2021.

          Staff numbers and costs

          Total staff numbers – 11,591, up 211 from 11,380 in 2015
          Fulltime equivalent staff numbers – 9870, up 192 from 9678 in 2015
          Staff earning more than $100,000 – 2048, up 136 from 1912 in 2015
          Staff costs – $803m, up $32m from budget of $771m*

          Auckland Council agency Panuku’s blow-out in staff earning over $100k

          Don’t forget people this is just staff! And they outsourced most of the work out already, so they are ‘managing’ all the council work that is not included in these figures.

      • Ronald – Correct…but the problems we are facing up in Auckland, Mayor Goff helped to make slightly worse due to inaction

    • Yep I think Phil Goff, Mr Leftie, would sell everything in a heartbeat, at least they are just talking about a lease. It would not be so bad if the lease was for a short period aka 5 years to see if they can run it better.

      At present you get the impression that we have the worst of both worlds, ratepayers have no control while COO’s run up debt while pretending to be great at business and giving dividends to themselves (borrowed) and run it poorly with poor safety. Then the auditors don’t notice.

  5. Good to hear that he is open minded; privatisation of this sort of essential operation usually leads to costly disaster and environmental chaos. If it ain’t broke….

  6. Selling assets isn’t the way forward, in the long run.

    He needs to tackle the staffing levels in the Council: Go through the headcount with a broadsword and make the place leaner. He also needs to sort out internal processes because most council workers spend their day writing reports and hiding behind process. Nothing gets decided and nothing gets done.

  7. Without trading ports NZ is ruined. Ports of Auckland – and all other trading ports – should be seized by central government as national security assets. Mayors should have zero ability to sell them.

  8. Why the hell is the new Mayor trying to put Auckland back on some type of sound economic footing…?? Having a sound financial plan to reduce debt is crazy shit…..You ask anyone on the left in New Zealand about having sensible economic policies and they will tell you , “ just borrow more money” ….It works for Local Government and Central Government…..Perfection…What could go wrong..???

  9. Nah. Sell it. Theres a claim coming, if it hasn’t been lodged already by Tainui-Waikato. Their residual claim on Tamaki from 2020 and also the 3 Harbours claims too for the Manukau, Waitemata-Hauraki Gulf and Tikapa- Firth of Thames.

    There’s money in that lot right there!

  10. Ok Martyn, you tell how to get rid of debt. Oh…I forgot…you just print money in lala land.

  11. The Maritime Union says any privatization of the Ports of Auckland would be a disaster for The Maritime Union…

  12. I can see by the many stupid trivial comments here, just firing mud pies at some perceived other side, how Mayor Brown managed to dun (see Financial Dictionary), stun and overcome any intelligent thought shining forth in Auckland. I think laser beams are needed aimed at the powerful minority targets, to have any effect.

  13. “Secret plans to sell the port business got underway by former Mayor Phil Goff and senior council staff”

    Why doesn’t that surprise me?

  14. I think the most appalling thing of all is that Mayor Browns only answer is to sell off assets. Hasn’t he got any better ideas, for example, cutting City Bureaucracy waste by 100 per cent! Even Hector the Parrot could come out with some better ideas and bear in mind, he’s been stuffed since the 1970’s. Mayor Brown comes across as being someone who once was alive but was stuffed in the 1980s and is now mounted firmly on the lap of Douglashites and Shipleyshites!

    • Ye please go as far away as possible and you certainly aint no beauty.

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