Ferry unions demand Finance Minister resignation over Cook Strait debacle


Ferry unions demand Finance Minister resign over Cook Strait debacle


Joint transport unions media release


Four unions representing maritime and rail workers have condemned the Government’s decision to effectively cancel the Cook Strait iRex ferry upgrade project, and are demanding the resignation of the Minister of Finance for the decision.


The four unions are the Maritime Union of New Zealand representing seafarers, the Rail and Maritime Transport Union representing rail workers, the New Zealand Merchant Service Guild representing ship’s masters and officers, and the Aviation and Marine Engineers Association representing marine engineers.


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Maritime Union of New Zealand National Secretary Craig Harrison says it is not tenable that such a major decision with massive implications for the economy should be made in such a ‘fast and loose’ manner.


“This is far more than a fiscal decision – this decision shows poor judgement and a total lack of understanding of the importance of a functioning Cook Strait connection to New Zealand’s supply chain.”


He says the ongoing technical issues with Cook Strait ferries are a result of end of life vessels being used on a notoriously challenging crossing and had resulted in serious incidents in the last few years.


“The can has been kicked down the road for years and the upgrade has to happen now.”


“This Government campaigned on getting our transport infrastructure sorted and their first move is to basically jeopardize the future of road and rail transport between the North and South Island.”


Rail and Maritime Transport Union General Secretary Todd Valster says the ferry upgrade project was an essential part of maintaining a ‘fit for purpose’ national transport system initiated by the previous Labour Government.


He says the new Government’s decision to dump the project was reckless and indicated an agenda to run down key parts of our transport infrastructure.


“The iRex project would deliver fit for purpose, modern vessels and terminals, that would provide reliability, resilience, low emissions and a safe service.”


Mr Valster says the iRex project would deliver a long term solution for the Cook Strait over decades, which justified the cost of the project.


He says the Minister of Finance and the Government had made an irresponsible decision that would cost millions to rectify by breaking contracts with overseas suppliers, and leave the Cook Strait connection with third rate, ageing infrastructure.




  1. Everyone with half a brain can see that the National Party has done nothing in its entire History to build any major infrastructure in this Country. Their lack of strategic thinking & lack of vision has stifled NZ’s progress for decades & they continue to do it their failure to invest in these Ferries, what happens now to all the Building work already done to build the new wharf facilities in anticipation for those new Ferries, work has already started & millions have already been spent, does all this get abandoned now? National’s short termism is their primary agenda & has been for decades, their Party is a Party of the Rich, for the already rich, so resources are diverted from the Country’s coffers to fund their Constituents Tax cuts leaving no money to invest in Infrastructure, this myopic thinking prevents much needed progress, the Auckland Harbour Bridge is a classic example of the National Party doing things on the cheap, the sheer incompetence
    of National to sabotage that project, under Labour, the Bridge was supposed to be 8 lanes with a Rail
    Line going all the way to Whangaparoa, the Nats got into power then put the kibosh on that & it became a two lane bridge requiring unsatisfactory clip ons later on & no rail line! Auckland was supposed to get its Rail network electrified & the Central City Stations & loops completed under Sir Dove Myer Robinson back in the 1970’s, it was all approved under Labour & funding approved but National got into power & axed it, finally in 2023-24, under Labour, its finally close to completion but cost millions more to complete! All the big projects, the Roading upgrades, the Rail link, the Waterview Tunnel, the major Motorways built, all done under Labour! And all the massive Housing Corp Kainga Ora Social Housing, the heaps of apartment blocks going up in Auckland, all built under Labour! National don’t do Social Housing or Infrastructure, they put people in Motels, axe Infrastructure projects without any thought of the long term consequences & do everything on the cheap, now the want more clapped out old ferries for the Cook Strait & continue to kick the can down the Road so they can fund their Tax cuts for the Rich & this idiotic passing the buck always ends up costing the Country billions more in the Future! They are so predictable in their fucking hopelessness!

  2. Nicotine Willis had to make a quick decision and has taken a lazy approach folding a project she can quickly eliminate as she has to present her mini budget. National are very predictable she was always going to say she inherited a mess. These tax cuts were always going to come at a cost as they did when Key did exactly the same. The fact she made the decision so quick reflects on how desperate this coalition and is.

  3. Another Labour project not costed properly. We are suffering in Chch with Woods getting involved in the new swimming complex. Fired the local firm hired an Australian/Chinese contractor who has gone 300m over budget and the pool is sinking.

  4. 3 billion dollars at 6% will cost 180 million per year to service the debt for the new ferries and terminals . The income from the interislander operations produce about 120 million per year and cost the same to run at present – to break even all passenger and freight costs would have to more than double and they would still run at a loss !

    • Yes but it looks good on paper and gives the impression we are moving forward.Never mind the cost it is the tax payers money so it does not matter.


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