Council fratricide on Thursday – pass it on

The streets will flow with the blood of left-wingers after this coming Thurday’s Auckland Council committee meeting on the Ports of Auckland industrial dispute.

To be discussed at the meeting will be a series of questions posed by Richard Northey and answered by Auckland Council Investments’ Gary Swift.

Also on the table will be the nutty and pathetic tablings of Local Boards (they who are so clearly not tasked with regional and investment matters) who have even had MUNZ come and whinge to them about what is happening. This is all a bit ho-hum.

What is going to really set the cat amongst the pigeons is Richard Northey’s motion as chair:

• That the Accountability and Performance Committee express to the Ports of Auckland and to the Maritime Union:

i) its strong desire for an immediate return to good faith bargaining aimed at the achievement of a fair collective agreements that further significantly improves port efficiency, and
ii) its opposition to the redundancy and contracting out of 292 port workforce positions as proposed.

This amounts to political interference amongst the management of the Ports. Should this motion pass, then the left will have massively backflipped – and in the process handing a massive humiliation to Len Brown who has said his hands are tied and he won’t interfere.

It will also be interesting to see which councillors do not turn up (like last time), or choose to abstain. This includes Len Brown, whose failure to turn up last time kicked off the cunning C&R strategy of baiting Len into a foolish and compromising position of “supporting both sides” in mid January.

Brown is now tasked with an even worse set of choices thanks to Richard Northey’s desperation to show he is a worker’s mate.

a) Don’t turn up and be called a coward
b) Turn up and vote for the motion, completely upending his council and risking central government wrath (with the wrath rumoured to include legislation that the council might not like)
c) Turn up and vote down the motion, doing the right thing but further hurting his support with the militant left

I will be counting on the votes of the 5 C&R councillors, plus independents to show that it’s NOT the business of council politicians to publicly contradict and countermand previous decisions it made to support the boards of its investment wing. (Remember than on 8 December, the council voted at this same committee to back the Ports board and Auckland Council Investments). Nominally centre-right councillors like Penny Webster, Michael Goudie, and Calum Penrose, plus centrists like Arthur Anae, Sir John Walker and Sharon Stewart will be scrutinised heavily to see if they back this hard left retrograde step to inferfere in the management of the Ports.

On top of this – the votes of the two unelected Maori Statutory Board members will be scrutinised hard too.

This is going to be the showdown of the council term – this vote may define the Len Brown and Labour-left led council in the same way the Waterfront Stadium debate of the Hubbard Council wrecked the inter-personal relationships between left-wing councillors and humiliated Dick Hubbard publicly.


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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.

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