The best investment the Maritime Union ever made

The best investment the Maritime Union ever made was its financial contribution to Auckland Council politicians at the supercity elections.

We now know that both Mike Lee and Len Brown were both given $2000 each by the Maritime Union. We can also hazard a guess that they provided “informal and voluntary” labour to help deliver pamphlets, knock on doors and put up signs, because that was precisely the modus operandi of unions in the supercity elections, and we also know that other unions were providing this labour to Len Brown and other politicians like Richard Northey.

So Len Brown has probably been dodging the media and avoiding making comments, not because he wants to be studiously independent, but because he owes favours to the Maritime Union. Len’s wishy washy comments, while tempting to put down to cowardice, are actually because he’s being influenced by the Maritime Union to stay out, because they gave him money.

Mike Lee, on the other hand, has been repaying the favour with gusto and enthusiasm.

Lee has been on the record voting against efforts to back the Ports Board, and has been publicly attacking those who have been expressing opinions that the Ports of Auckland board should be backed. The $2000 donation from the Maritime Union has bought them a public attack dog in a most influential place.

I can’t think of any circumstance in which a member of the public might think that Mike Lee would be able to give an unbiased opinion given he received a significant cash donation to help him get elected. In fact it was his only declared donation. It looks so obvious that he is conflicted that he shouldn’t have participated in the debate. The sum involved, $2000, is arguably small bikkies for a Mayoral campaign, but actually quite a useful sum of money for a council race. And then, there’s the free labour the union probably provided as well.

The questions the media need to ask are this:

Should Mike Lee have participated in the December 8 Accountability and Performance committee meeting vote on supporting the Ports Board given that he had received money from the Maritime Union and could realistically be expected to be biased or conflicted?

Had he sought advice on this potential for a conflict on interest with the CEO, as good politicians should do prior to participating in such votes?

What other politicians have received donations from the Maritime Union at the supercity?

What votes have they participated in, and how did they vote?

Are the voices in Mike Lee’s head singing barbershop now that he’s been found out?

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  • Gazzaw

    Brown has always been notoriously silent when it comes to fronting the bad news stuff – witness the RWC opening night debacle. His performance is to be expected but he does need to be reminded that all good holidays come to an end. As for Lee I don’t know enough about him to comment but we all knew when this shower were elected as our council that there was going to some questionable behaviour and now the chickens are coming home to roost.

    Brown wasn’t voted in at tle last election, Banks was voted out by an apathetic or cocky right. There’s a big difference as Brown will find out next year. The POA issue is way too big to be forgotten by the electorate.  

    • Paulus

      Brown leaves these things to his Labour Party staff.

    • Paulus

      Brown leaves these things to his Labour Party staff.


    I see McCarten has dropped his propaganda for today.

    Right, time to place That Contract into the open for the public to make their own mind. Wait didnt this very site do so?

    • ConwayCaptain

      This isnthe Mcarten that owes the IRD gazillions is it??

  • Dr Wang

    Brown claimed that he wanted to do the job when he was campaigning – now he has the position (title) of Mayor he doesn’t want to do the job.

    Lazy, thick, paranoid (emperor with no clothes), corrupt, fantasist??? – you decide, but whatever the reason, he is drawing the salary but refusing to do the work.

    DCM Len.

  • Willsomers101

    So the CEO of POAL is still on holiday, of course he should like the Mayor
     Nice to know its the greedy shipping companies driving down the container handling charges because they built too many ships during the boom years. Hows that  return on capital going if they are just tied up around Europes inlets.

    • You are an idiot as much as Kosh is.
      Someone else here with a bit more clue then you ever will has commented about those ships in the European Inlets.

      If I remember properly from that post you had the following
      1) Ship layovers such as seen in the port have occurred since Merchant Trading across the seas 
      2) Some of those ships will be scrapped, and their metal used for something else
      3) Surplus ships might be now but Maersk  are hedging when the world economy takes off again which it will they have the Surplus Ships ready to go to take up the slack and be responsive in the increased demand in shipping that results in high economic growth.

      But then again a Socialist? like you could never fathom common business sense nor risk as Entrepreneurial People do? 

      I am reading that America might be thawing out and ready to take off again so might need  those extra ships to move those containers, bulk materials and gas to and from the USA.

      • Gazzaw

        You are absolutely correct in your summation Ben. I think Conway Captain made those points. Ships can be mothballed for years waiting on a change of trading conditions, it’s all part of shipping company strategy.  Willsomers knows diddley squat about such issues and should stick to preaching socialist doctrine.  

      • ConwayCaptain


        There are anchorages in the world full of laid up ships.  They can be laid up with small crews that keep the machinery ticking over or laid up properly with no crews and basically mothballed.

        The shipowners are like lemmings, trade improves and they all rush to build ships, by the time ht eship arrives trade is in a downturn and thefreight/charter rates are down the gurgler.  Some years ago Cape Size bulkkers were getting 200K per day or more then the bottom fell outbthe market as new ships came in and new charters were going for 20K per day.

        Reserach the Baltic Dry Index this is a very good barometer as to how world trade is going as it is an index of charter rates from the Baltic Exchange in London.

        The same has happened with box boats and some year back they trumpeted the first 10000 TEU now Maersk are building 18000 TEUs what is going to happen to the almost new 10000 TEU vessels.  They wont even have been paid for yet.

        Eventually NZ will have one or maybe two import/export ports and all cargo will be railed up or feeder ships from around NZ.  Where will one of these be???  Imports into Akl, shift ship (5 hrs) and this can be done when TGa is closed owing to the tide and export fromm TGA.

        Now there is a scenario for you.  Bet Loopy and Parsloe havent thought this one out.

    • Politically Unstable

      And the Wharfies have been on holidays for bloody years!!  If they have driven down container handling charges – so what? Maybe it was the competition between ports that did this – so what? All the local authorities wanted a piece of the action and over invested in infrastructure – the shipping companies have now consolidated.

      Suppliers have to be able to adapt to customers demands – not the other way round. That is the part that the wharfies do not understand.

      • Pcpop

        Perhaps you would be happy with a 10% increase in wage (bringing your hourly rate up to $29 per hour) and be on call 24 hours a day with the hope you may pick up a 2 hour shift for the day.  How can any family survive on that.  I bet Gibson would not dream of working under those conditions(especially if he hadnt already made gazzillions at the expense of others). Mark my words this out right exploitation of employees will be the norm for everyone if the Ports, management win this battle.  All you who criticise ( including your kids and grandkids) may well be facing the same rip off demands in your work place with no leg to stand on.  Suppliers were having their demands met before the Ports decided to
        exploit their labour force.

  • Sarah

    here’s a bizzare thought….let’s give Len to ChCh and Aklnd takes Marryatt…totally off center I know but with all the whinging down south mayb they need to see what what useless really means. lol It’s Sunday am I too laid back ?

    • Mark Brown

      Perhaps a wee bit too far, Sarah.

      Please keep him. We don’t need anymore liabilities down here :-)

    • Gazzaw

      We saw another REAL mayor in action on TV last night. I am referring to Ron Mark in Carterton and his calm, capable demeanour showing some real civic leadership in a local disaster. I wonder if Ron thought about whether he should come in over a holiday period or leave it to his officials?

      • Sarah

        I have always liked Ron Mark… know where you stand with him and yes ‘a real ‘ Mayor. 

  • ConwayCaptain

    I see Loopy is in this mornings Herald telling the MU to settle.