Meet the Wharfies – Mita Skipper

via the tipline from a port worker

Last night John Campbell interviewed Ports of Auckland and MUNZ member Mita Skipper who told the viewers that he has worked at the Ports of Auckland for 5 years as a straddle driver and really loves his job.

Mita is the face of the MUNZ postcard which has been dropped in mailboxes all over the city.

The interview was so one eyed and very disappointingly researched by John and his team that it is worth bringing to light a few more facts so that readers can make up their own mind about what they saw on TV.

Mita was employed as a straddle driver 5 years ago but has been on ACC and light duties for the last 2 and a half years. His light duties entail that he has to turn up to work for 4 hours a day and he spends those sitting in the mess room talking to people.

Prior to going on ACC Mita sustained a pinched nerve in his neck which required surgery. The surgeon cut through a nerve and nearly killed him and has made his neck injury even worse. The injury prevents him from looking sideways which means that he cannot lash or drive or perform any stevedoring duties. The port has tried to look out for him and accomodate him the best that they can but the nature of the injury means that there is little he can do – except a full on haka when the firemen joined MUNZ on the picket line.

Mita Skipper is going to find himself not only redundant but not wanted by any contracting out company. Which is a shame as he has 12 children. His partner says she just wants to know what hours he’s going to work, and the answer to that is, none.

John Campbell and other media who do interviews are constantly going after MUNZ bait, and these guys are not the typical example of those who work there. Then you get idiots like Darien Fenton and Helen Kelly saying that those who speak out will be discriminated against when it comes to getting jobs with contracting out companies. Of course they will! These are the guys who are either milking the system, toxic and negative, lazy or atrocious liars.

Why on earth is John Campbell not going after the whole story? Obviously he wants those most contentious to keep the TV3 ratings up. But there are more than MUNZ being made redundant. All of the guys who have been keeping the port going while MUNZ have been on strike are also being made redundant, as are the labour allocators, support staff and a percentage of the administration teams. No one is interviewing them or asking about how they will know how many hours they need to work.

Shame on John Campbell.


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  • LesleyNZ

    Yes and shame on Helen Kelly and Darien Fenton. Those two (and John Campbell) need to find this guy Mita Skipper a job so he can feed his kids or MUNZ need to stop advertising and sponsoring stuff on NewstalkZB and wasting Union fees and use that money to help Mita Skipper, his wife and 12 kids. Shame on MUNZ, Helen Kelly, Darien Fenton and John Campbell and TV3.

  • hoha

    Unfortunately that is  NZ media for you. They take what they can use and toss the rest aside as it doesn’t give them good ratings.

    • Doodlebug

      Gits that they are. The blogosphere is far more informative as you get your info from people who are there and know the situatiOn. I hardly bother with tv news anymore

      • Roland

        I am starting to agree with you there Dood’s, where can I find a balanced News Feed when I get home from work around 6.00pm?

    •  Agree with you and others of the same response – when did the media of this country ever left the truth get in the way of a good headline.  Watched the Campbell story and thought there has to be more to this – geez I hate the way they’re all still calling each other “comrade” WTF is that about? They were using that term when I was at school in the fifties….

    • Dr Wang

      But, but, but….I saw Mita on the telly last night, and butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth! This must all just be a terrible misunderstanding…surely?

      PS Does Mrs Mita know that Mr Mita just goes and sits around for all of 4 hours a day at work – she seemed to think he was the hardest working worker at the port??

      • BJ

        Maybe he asked if he can go to ‘work’ every day so he doesn’t have to help his poor wife with the 12!!!!!!! kids he made

      • Irishgurl

        Funny I dont remember her saying any such thing but you wouldnt be inclined to fabricate such facts would you? And I suppose your sitting right next to Mita Skipper every day so of course you have firsthand knowledge of his everyday activities?

  • Euan Rt

    Most unimpressed with John Campbells’ coverage of keeping Chch cathedral. He showed his true colours at the end after the great majority of Chch residents interviewed came out and said pull it down. Campbell finished up by saying he was really surprised – he was obviously after a story and it turned into a nonstory. Well hello, the cathedral doesnt belong to the citizens of CHch anyway – it belongs to the Anglican church. Why should anyone think they can pressure the church as to what they should do with their building? What a twat.

    • Blokeintakapuna

      yep – I wonder how many Billons the Anglican church has in property, art, religious gold and silver trinkets and liquid funds donated by parishiners? Perhaps the church could fund the rebuild itself… using it’s tax free income no less…

      • Euan Rt

        Agree, Certainly churches responsibility to provide for itself.

  • Frangi

    Yes I would like to hear from some of those on individual contracts about how they feel that they too will be made redundant. I’m sure the port will do all It can to get them the best deal with whoever gets the contracting out contracts

    • Biker

      The port will have to make all the stevedores redundant whether union or non-union because it no longer wants to be in the business of providing its own stevedoring.  It would also be unfair to pay out fat redundancies to those who went on strike and not pay out redundancy to the non-union and then have them end up working alongside each other one with a fat wallet who did nothing to help and one with a thin wallet who helped the port operate.  So they’ll all get laid off and then I imagine/hope the port will do all it can for those non union to ensure that they are re-employed if that’s what they want.

      There’s a huge risk for POAL now because some MUNZ may try to run back across the picket line but considering the damage that they did to the mess room before they went on strike and the other things they’ve been up to, if a picketing MUNZ returns to the job before the contracting out takes place there will be no guarantee that he’s not out to make trouble.  Either to damage million dollar equipment like the straddles and cranes or to try and get an injury to go on ACC. MUNZ are now “untouchables”.

      Look for MUNZ to try and tie POAL up now in the court rooms.

      • hugo

        one already tried and got told politely to fuck off

      • Irishgurl

        I think you should check your facts first Bike – you need to distinguish the difference between fact and rumour – one person on this page stated “The blogosphere is far more informative as you get your info from people who are there and know the situatiOn” – if this is meant to be from people who know the situation then thats a complete joke! Stop embarrassing yourself – seriously!

  • Blokeintakapuna

    perhaps another complaint to the broadcasting authorities might be in order?

    Great work WO – at least we can get a a balanced and thorough story from WO.

    WO for Mayor!  

    •  I’m not sure I totally agree – It’s more through reading both WO’s blog and the media stories we’re getting the balance.

      • Irishgurl

        Well acutally – no your not getting the balance – there are so many inaccuracies on this one page that I dont know where to begin – firstly – where is everyone getting this information from (thats on this page)? And dont you think the information might not be factual? Wooo there’s a thought! Yes, the media omit things etc but that doesnt mean that this doesnt affect his family or any of the other 290 plus families any less!!!! Have you actually spoken to Mita? Or any of the other families and individuals affected by this? Gez. everyone is busy poking holes at the poor guy that your missing the whole picture – BY THE WAY DID ANYONE KNOW THAT THE INJURY THAT HE NEEDED SURGERY FOR WAS AS A RESULT OF A WORKPLACE ACCIDENT? Like I say, your not getting the balance.

      • Euan Rt

        irishlass you have said that there are so many inaccuracies that you don’t know where to begin. I’d love to hear your top 5 inaccuracies here and tell us why? Obviously you are in a position of enlightenment. I seriously would like your input.

  • DJ

    It’s amazing how Munz has picked out there creme de la creme to represent them.

    • Doug_S

      DJ, I do detect the sarcastic note of your post but I think you will find this bloke really is what you say. He demonstrates very well the calibre of the so called “unionized workers” at POAL. The trouble makers are all as dumb as a sack of hammers and this guy proves it. Good post BTW.

    • Ronnie Chow

       They ARE the Cream. The rest ain’t telegenic in a 2 planks sort of way..

    • ConwayCaptain

      It is not only the cream that floats to the top!!!!!

    • Irishgurl

      Well I’m sure they would have all 290+ workers speaking on their behalf but how much time do you have in the day to listen to each of them? By the sounds of it no matter who they would have interviewed that day you would be pickign them apart. Come on DJ pull your head in and get informed – you too Doug_S!!!!

  • Blokeintakapuna

    So putting aside all the emotive issues and rhetoric surrounding his injury and inability to work beyond light duties – does anyone else see the large white elephant with the difficulties a work place has in having to keep employing and paying someone that can’t perform normal work duties? Sure it’s not his fault, but it’s not the fault of the work place either – so why does the workplace still need to keep paying for someone that can’t perform work?

    ahhh….. union member… well – it’s all justified then – except if the unions had employed him and had to pay his wages….

    • hoha

      Better they employ him than he going on the sickness benefit and our taxes paying for him.

      • Mike

        With 12 kids and welfare for families there is no way this guy is a net taxpayer, so us taxpayers are already paying for him in some part

    • Irishgurl

      Did it occurr to you that he hurt his neck at work DURING PERFORMING WORK DUTIES? Thats why he is on light duties and working his way into getting back to full duties. Every knows that! Come on, wakey wakey!!!!!

  • Get it Right

    It astounds me that the media is covering only union members, “auckland port sacks striking workers”! They aren’t sacking striking workers, they are making people redundant because it is no longer viable for them to operate a workforce, particularly one that doesn’t want to change. I read in a blog recently from someone here who said that this is all about power and that is exactly what this is about! I am not a big fan of Len brown but thank the gods that he made sense this morning – if job security was what they wanted then they should have accepted the first offer because that was all about job security with no changes to their current conditions. And let’s get it right, it is both union and non union along with support staff that are being made redundant! The company is not attacking the unionized workforce they are restructuring their business model irrespective of whether the people affected are union or not!

    • Irishgurl

      The conditions have changed and thats what the union is fighting for – how about instead of speculating you actually call the union and ask them! Instead of spending all this time making your own decision did anyone think to atually talk to the union? Duh, there’s a thought! Talk to the first and then make your own decisions rather than reading this shit!

      • Gandalf

        Yes the conditions have changed since 1951 and it’s about time the Unions caught up

  • Gazzaw

    Everything goes out the window with the media when it comes to ratings & advertising revenue.

    Heard NewstalkZB lately? Leighton Smith, Larry Williams & Mike Hosking 100% supportive of POAL and yet their station blasts us twice hourly with MUNZ advertisements calling on us to have solidarity with the workers. Hypocritical to the extreme.

  • grumpy

    I feel sorry for Mita. He was injured through the negligence of a surgeon and in any civilised country would be compensated for that so he would not need “light duties”.  Our crap ACC system is to blame here.
    Obviously he has loyalty to his old workmates and so attends the picket line – fair enough, that is his right.

    What really is disgusting is TV3 parading him as somebody he is not.  Surely they knew the truth would out and Mita, as well as his medical problems would wear the fallout.  Disgusting ethics from Campbell.

  • Quintin Hogg

    You are doing the word “ethics” a disservice using it in the same sentence as “John Campbell”.

  • AnonWgtn

    Gave up TV3 Campbell years ago
    He is, and always has been, a “git”.
    Helen Clark got it right.

    • Paddles83

      We did exactly the same 

      • Roland

        I am thinking the same since I got back from Indonesia last month, it seems that TV3 always has a spin against the Govt. if it can and Gower is always spinning his arms enough to whip cream…. Is there someone else I can ‘Mysky’ to get a good fix on the News? Notwithstanding that, I quite like the Sports dude there

  • Work for a living

    “The injury prevents him from looking sideways” Why does the video at 14″ show him turning his head and neck to the left ?

  • Grizz30

    I wonder if there is more to his surgery than the article is saying. Unfortunately due to privacy restrictions details of the surgery cannot be made public. It may be convenient for Mita to say that the knife slipped, problem made worse etc, etc. However, it is well known that spinal surgery is not always effective. You can still be plagued by ongoing pain afterwards. I would reserve judgement if the surgeon did anything wrong without having access to an independent medical review.

    • Irishgurl

      Did anyone actually know that the reason why he was under the knife in the first place was due to an injury that occurred at work! Stop taking little pieces of information and making up your own stories people! I think your missing the whole bloody point of the interview – and he was asked to do it because everyone else that had a voice was too shy! Gez! As for lookign sideways – of course he can turn his head sideways – did he ever say he couldnt? NO! But try driving s straddle dumbasses! There’s a bit of a difference!

      • Roland

        Sorry Irishgirl, I have been overseas for the last 2 months and missed some of the blog here, can you refresh me as to how Mita had the injury please? Maybe same injury as the Blockhead on TV last night with his hand/arm in a splint and pouring a jug of beer and then drinking a small glass with the other…

    • Irishgurl

      Oh my gosh listen to yourself! He got hurt at work which meant he needed surgery on his NECK and during that surgery the surgeon nicked an artery and didnt realise until AFTER they had stitched him up! Oh my gosh – all thses people losing their jobs and you are more interested in one workers medical file? Both creepy and weird!

      • Gandalf

        The jobs are still there, just someone else will be the boss

      • Roland

        Maybe a shame the surgeon didnt just ‘nick’ the artery aye?…. Save us all this drain on our resources

  • Simo

    From my post and still relevant today:
    TV3grad – so predictably manage a viewer poll on Dipshit Live exactly the opposite of this:Port workers’ sacking – who do you support?- The sacked workers (38%)
    – Ports 62%The smarmy greaseball could’nt stop smiling…….what a f*&^&&wit! What was interesting is TV3grad demonstrated during the 2011 election that they arebiased beyond believable statistics. In another death defying feat of stupidity,they dropped their pants again and take one up the chook on behalf of the thefty lefties

  • Guest

    Why does this man have a beard that looks like a Parnell girl’s pussy?

    • Dr Wang

      …and why do his mates call him “fish breath”?

    • Boss Hogg

      Those “Parnell Girls” are all MILFS and Cougars aern’t they??

      • Irishgurl

        You you both speaking from experience?

    • Irishgurl

      How do you know what one likes like?

  • Phar Lap

    Yes i also watched that de facto anti Government channel last night.I noticed an item that had that manifest liar in it.Sure enough if was Union Kelly once more with her  lies harder to believe than Pinochio.It was a piece of paper  looking for signatures for a chance to overturn, which last i read the asset sales by Nats would be a fait accompli.The voters in the 2011 did their referenda then.Union Kelly and Grey Power have done a deal to  try and overturn the decision 2011.Simple question YES? OR NO?.I would like part two of the so called Union Kelly and Grey Power deal to read,In the event of Kelly and Grey power winning WILL THEY TAKE A CUT IN PENSION.That is what could happen if the country gets another Standard and Poors credit downgrade.COULDNT  HAPPEN?Thats what Greece thought.

    • Don

       Yep I saw Helen ‘The Hobbit Hater’ Kelly with her petition too.

      MUNZ is a dead duck, She knows it, and has moved on to the next non-issue.

  • Jassen

    2 TV3 News reports on their web site on the same day have the following two quotes. 1 from each.

    “While they were in good faith bargaining with us they’re now making
    people redundant and sacking them,” says Garry Parsloe of the Maritime
    Union.Maritime Union national president Garry Parsloe says port management did
    not bargain in good faith throughout the long-running industrial
    dispute and he always feared the redundancies.
    Someone, somewhere if schizophrenic.


    • Jassen

       Sorry tried to space them out but it didn’t work

  • Irishgurl

    The “Tip from a port worker” was a non-union worker obviously so of course its going to be a coulored point of view. And Mita doesnt work 4 hours a day – WRONG THERE. He had regularly asked for duties dirivng excorts (escorting workers to the vessels in vans – so who’s the idiot that said he cant drive???) and other general duties inclduing control all in the effort to get back to straddle driving which is what he wants to do! Of course they were helping him get back to his normal duties – the reason why he hurt his neck (who’s the idiot talking about spinal surgery????) was during his lashing duties as STEVEDORE! How about you talk to the guy before listening to “tips” and get the facts straight –  come one people! Anyway, if you’ve finsihed your personal attacks on a guy you dont even know maybe you’ll have a bit of empathy for the people losing their jobs no matter how many kids they have or dont have!