The Standard on the Ports: Blame Mike Lee!

The Standard predictably turn feral over the Ports of Auckland saga. What is surprising is who they are now fingering for the blame – Mike Lee and his left wing ARC.

“Over the last decades the Ports of Auckland has been systematically starved of capital to upgrade cranes and transport systems by the demands of ratepayers wanting reduced rates. Successive councils have raided the profits of the Ports of Auckland thereby reducing the ports ability to make better returns.”

Just to be clear, the council the Standard is referring to is the Auckland Regional Council – chaired by Mike Lee from 2004-2010, with left wing majorities over this time.

It was under Mike Lee’s watch that:

  • the Ports were bought out by the ARC lock, stock and barrel at an exorbitant price in 2005.
  • the Ports had their balanced sheet raided to pay for Mike Lee’s projects and funding ARC transport through dividends that the Ports in retrospect, couldn’t afford
  • A massive buildup in Port debt occurred
  • a hasty bailout/recapitalisation under the guise of the government helping to buy Queens Wharf occurred a few years back

The Ports were stuffed under council ownership under Mike Lee’s chairmanship, with the ARC’s dividend policy preventing POAL from making the investments in the business they needed to make.

The supercity is the blessing that may actually save the Ports as a business – bringing in proper management under a strong board, not subject to the interference and bad decisions of the old Regional Council. The business demands of council have meant that the Ports board are dealing with systemic issues to improve the business, rather than borrow money they no longer can afford.

What is ironic is that the hard left of Auckland are now turning on Len Brown, and will I imagine put Mike Lee, the architect of the demise of their pals at the Maritime Union, up as the saviour of their cause.

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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.