Ports problems all Len’s fault

The Sunday Star-Times has revealed exactly why it is that Len Brown is running silent on the Ports dispute. It is because it has all pretty much stemmed from his demands for monopoly rents from the Port:

Auckland Council’s demand for a “monopoly rent” from Ports of Auckland is facing a backlash from business as well as from the unions.

The political manoeuvring behind the council’s drive to double Ports of Auckland’s profitability were revealed on Tuesday night when council chief executive Doug McKay and mayor Len Brown gave presentations to a meeting of the Auckland Property Investors Association at which they outlined their position on the port’s future and the industrial action it is facing.

McKay said a review of the council-owned port’s performance was undertaken shortly after the new super-city was formed in November 2010, comparing it with other ports around the world.

At the time, the port was earning a return on investment of about 6 per cent. The report, which the council refused to release to the Sunday Star-Times last week, recommended the port should be able to double its profitability to achieve a 10 to 12 per cent return “at the very least,” McKay said.

On the basis of that advice, the council’s “political wing” – its elected representatives – set the port company the goal of lifting its return on investment to 10 to 12 per cent over the next three to five years. That led the company to review its costs and propose new working arrangements for its wharfies, leading to the recent series of strikes on the wharves.

While McKay expressed disappointment that negotiations between the port company and unions had broken down, he did not appear surprised.

“I keep reminding Len [Brown] that you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette,” he said.

Well, Len Brown has gone up in my estimation for wanting to break union eggs to make a port company omelette. Who would have ever dreamed of a Labour mayor breaking a union?

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.