OPINION: No place in ports dispute for privacy bleaters

Like industrial clashes everywhere, both sides in the Ports of Auckland dispute use whatever weapon they can to discredit the other.

Unions come out swinging for public sympathy with tales of worker hardship and woe, the struggle to make ends meet, put food on the table and keep the starving family together.

In the Ports of Auckland dispute the employer hit back by revealing a hefty reality check – an independent pay review which showed wharfies pay ranged from $91,000 to about $120,000, including some $30,000 in special allowances.

Hardly a breadline existence.

When the maritime union wheeled out striker Cecil Walker as the union’s allegedly hard-done-by poster boy, again the whole truth was not told.

When the truth emerged it showed a completely different picture.

It turned out Ports of Auckland was extremely generous and compassionate to Mr Walker at a time his wife was terminally ill.

In total, the employer gave Mr Walker 21 weeks paid leave to be by his wife’s side.

That is not the action of a cruel or mean employer – quite the opposite.

To have Mr Walker then held up by his union as a wretched victim clearly infuriated the company.

It is no wonder the generous details hidden by the union found their way into the public arena.

How the truth got there is irrelevant.

Union leaders, their political lackeys and media lapdogs who now bleat about some imagined breach of privacy need to take reality pills.

This is not a privacy circus and must not be allowed to become one.

In industrial clashes, as factions jockey to score points and win strategic support, the truth often goes out the window.

In such tense environments when fire is fought with fire, people get burned.

Welcome to the real world.

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Perhaps the POA management could take a reality pill, that would be a good start.

If its not a "privacy circus and must not be allowed to become one" then perhaps the owners of this company - Auckland ratepayers - can be told the total cost of the mismanagement of their asset. Is Whaleoil being paid and if so how much, what is the total cost of the QC POA hired, other Lawyers, union busting consultants,PR consultancy firms, the cost of the full page ads in the NZ Herald, the relentless radio advertising.

The Port was extremely generous to its employees in the past, under the management of CEO Geoff Vazey, Gibson & Co can hardly take credit for being good employers or good managers in the present circumstances.


Couldn’t agree more Jock – well said!

The unions use all manner of obfuscation, deliberate half-truth’s and down right lies – then attempt to complain bitterly when the complete story is told – which often then completely undermines their side of the story – as well as their credibility as it all slides further into irrelevance… along with their philosophies.

With the huge stink happening right now on both sides of the Tasman between the Unions and the Labour/Labor Parties and their on-going rorting and highly questionable financial dealings – no wonder the public are largely screaming out for an independent, judicial enquiry into these murky and shady dealings.

Our entire political system is at risk if these allegations of fraud / corruption / financial mismanagement are not fully looked at, in-depth, over a number of years by an independent body that can throw sunlight onto these very shady goings on.

The UPMU for instance still haven’t met minimum legal accounting / reporting requirements for 2005/2006… where are the authorities chasing this up?

Why have no formal enquiries or charges been laid yet? What is taking so long?

Where is the oversight into these dodgy funding / finance issues? Where is Penny Bright our “Anti-Corruption” Champion on this?

Pleased to see at least the NBR aren’t all left-wing socialist propaganda machines – unlike some in the MSM eh TV3?


Ohhh and with Labour’s 2008 attempt to steal / overspend almost $1,000,000 of tax payer funds as they attempted to rig the election, coupled with the EPMU’s 2005 / 2006 reporting irregularities – combined with the blatant corruption happening in Australia with the Unions and the ALP… it all trends in a general direction.

Birds of a feather….

There’s a huge whiff of dodgy going’s on between unions and Labour parties and the stench should be cause for immediate, in-depth investigations and over-sight.

This stench is tainting the credibility of our political system and will continue to do so unless sunlight is shed upon the findings.

Transparency and good faith are the unions catch phrases… time they fronted on this and called for forensic accounting of their dealings with all results displayed to the public for public scrutiny…


The unionised work force earn substantial cash for their work at the Port. More than junior Doctors, kindergarten teachers or any teacher for that matter, to do what ? Wharfies have always enjoyed more than what they are worth, in part beciause of the Unions willingness to hold the city, businesses and the country to ransom.
What about the threats of violence, spitting on other workers, taunts and jeers suffered by those not afraid to work without the crutch of a Union ?


Nice opinion piece, Jock. It is completely fair that a company defends itself by putting credible rebuttal information into the public domain in these circumstances. It's the same situation where the beneficiary tried to publicly denigrate Paula Bennett. Good on POAL for taking the action it did. Many companies are too slow in protecting themselves from these sorts of problems and allegations.


Totally agree here too.

The union trouble makers invent hardship stories of being mistreated, poorly paid etc and when solid evidence and proof completely contradicting their lies are made public - the unions cry crocodile tears that the persons privacy has been breached. They only want their side of the coin they have painted to be revealed - without questioning the authenticity of the information.

This should be a very similar situation to the Alisdair Thompson situation - where any resulting fall out for Mr Walker is due to his own actions allowing his untrue situation and made-up lies to be publically aired by the unions on his behalf.

"For evil to flourish, all that is needed is for good people to do nothing." Edmund Burke.

Stand up to the lying, unethical Unions PoAL. The hearts and minds of Auckland are right behind you. Defend your reputation - the truth will never hurt you...


I was told a wise story many years ago about dealing with matters like this.

"There was two guys in a pub in Dunedin have a beer. One of the guys said - you know that Joe Bloggs just got sacked from his job in Auckland. The other guy turns around and say.. who the hell is Joe Bloggs.."
They then started talking about sport


This is a classical Industrial Dispute. Neither party is without fault, neither will admit fault. Is either side educated? No one can justify a large income on the grounds of intelligence. All day, every day, we are served by people working rosters. Water, Sewerage, Electricity, Radio, Food, Health care, Transport,etc. Get real. No one is persecuted. The management can not justify their large income on the grounds of a job well done and the warfies can not claim hardship. This whole thing has taken the heat off Govt. Asset Sales. It is a farce.


What LAWFUL right did the CEO of Auckland Council, Doug McKay have to discuss the increase in Return On Equity (ROE) 'Key Performance Indicator (KPI) - which was arguably THE pivotal KPI in the Auckland Council Investments Ltd (ACIL) - with the Ports of Auckland Board?

This was a GOVERNANCE - not an 'operational' matter.

The CEO of Auckland Council is the 'principal administrative officer' - NOT a governance 'decision-maker'.

Who the hell does he think he is?

In my considered opinion, the CEO of Auckland Council, Doug Mckay - should be sacked forthwith.

Penny Bright
'Anti-corruption campaigner'


Jock Anderson - What a fool you are, dont even think about coming to Australia.
IF you get through customs, you arse will be nailed to the wall on sight.
Fat assed idiot.


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