Council makes right decision

The Auckland Council voted down Richard Northey’s strikers support motion:

Auckland Council has voted down a motion supporting wharfies involved a long-running industrial dispute with the Ports of Auckland.

Today’s motion was put forward by councillor Richard Northey, chair of the council’s Accountability and Performance Committee. He wanted the council to say it would be ”appropriate and desirable” to call for a resumption of collective bargaining, and that the port’s proposal to make 292 staff redundant by contracting out their jobs was ”either undesirable or premature”.

But the mayor, several councillors and the council’s legal team said the council could not intervene. The port is run by a limited company, Auckland Council Investments, at arm’s length from the politicians.

Council lawyers made it clear the council could not intervene and thus was unable to support the resolutions. The port company was legally able to operate with independence.

”It’s not a CCO (council controlled organisation) – it’s expressly excluded under the Local Government Act from being a CCO. It is a wholly owned subsidiary ultimately owned by council,” a lawyer said.

”CCO-type obligations and frameworks do not apply to the port company itself. Business decisions therefore are made by the port company board and not by Auckland Council Investments (which owns the ports) or council as ultimate shareholder.”

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