The truth about Port Safety

Helen Kelly and Garry Parsloe have been shamelessly shroud waving over the deaths of 3 workers at Tauranga. They say that this shows that worker safety is at issue and why contracting out at the Ports of Auckland must be opposed at all costs.

I have already busted their lies over this but this week they again ran these lines.

I contacted Ports of Tauranga about this issue and received a reply from their CEO Mark Cairns. He said he was happy for me to release the details below:

Thanks for your e-mail, Cam.

We have been really disappointed with the factual inaccuracies and unprofessional misrepresentation of the safety record of our port by the CTU President, Helen Kelly.  Unfortunately, we have had to waste shareholders’ money (which ironically includes >90% of our staff who hold shares in the Company) to instruct our solicitors to warn Ms Kelly against recklessly continuing in this regard.  Her statements about the safety record of this port are factually incorrect and we believe deliberately misleading.

We are aware that the CTU have made an Official Information Request to the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC), seeking our port’s claims history.  We are aware of this because ACC asked for our consent to release this information as they are bound to do under the Privacy Act.  We of course agreed to this information being released as we are proud of the improvement in safety performance at the port.

The actual ACC claims history shows Port of Tauranga to have one of the best safety records of all New Zealand ports – less than half the NZ ports’ average.  Ms Kelly is in possession of this information, but chooses to ignore it, as it clearly does not fit her argument.

This data from ACC is presented graphically for your information below.  Again, because of Privacy Act issues, ACC disguise the names of other NZ ports.  Perhaps you could ask Ports of Auckland to identify which port they are?

Port Safety Performance - Comparative


Safety is our number 1 priority at the Port and in fact we have a goal of achieving a zero harm work environment and considerable management effort is focused on striving to achieve this goal.  Our Board set a target this financial year to try and achieve a 30% improvement in Total Injury Frequency Rate – we are proud to have just achieved this improvement last month.

Ms Kelly also goes on to suggest there is a race to the bottom between the two ports with respect to pay and working conditions.  I would dispute this: many of our skilled workers actually earn more than the Ernst & Young figures for Ports of Auckland’s average stevedoring income.  I am very comfortable with this – our employees and contractors are highly skilled and work very hard to consistently deliver upper decile productivity. I guess the main difference though is that they expect to be working, when they are paid to be working!  Maybe this explains why our Port of Tauranga has net crane productivity rates 38% greater than Ports of Auckland’s (Ministry of Transport data) or on a gross measure (not allowing for netting out smoko breaks and any industrial action), the difference in gross crane rate between Ports of Auckland and Port of Tauranga is some 60% (shipping line data).

This is pretty interesting stuff. Mark Cairns has confirmed that Helen Kelly has warned legally about using incoirrect and inaccurate information regarding the detahs of the workers.

We also now know that despite the union claims that contracting out is a race to the bottom that Port of Tauranga workers earn more than current Ports of Auckland wharfies who are earning on average $91,000 perannum.

And that Tauranga, despite the claims of Garry parsloe and Helen Kelly is actually one of the safest ports in New Zealand. Quite how they compare against Ports of Auckland though I can only guess as they are yet to respond to my request for confirmation as to which bar on the chart is theirs. Is Ports of Auckland perhaps Port J? If it is then that really does extinguish the union’s credibility.

Every claim made by the union, through either Garry Parsloe or Helen Kelly has been proven to be incorrect. Every single claim they have made has been proven incorrect. Once day in my lifetime the media will surely have to stop believing and printing their lies without fact checking first.


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  • Layoutman

    Great data and from the horse’s mouth – Perhaps all the great workers still working the port in Auckland will now consider a move to Tauranga!  – Great fishing there too! Can we get Helen’s comments on this?

  • Salacious T Crumb

    Ms Kelly you are disqualified for continual racket abuse. Game, set & match to Mr Oil.

  • John Whyte

    Great data set.  Interestingly to me it looks like there are two sets of data, one with a real high danger risk (D, F, H, J) and the rest with a lower set.  Any reason why this is?

    • Agent BallSack

      I’m wondering if they are West Coast Ports, Greymouth and Reefton included.

      • Quintin Hogg

        ABS. Reefton isn’t a port.  Westport on the other hand is.

      • Agent BallSack

        I was trying to remember the name, thanks for pointing that out, getting to old to google shit apparently! :)

  • Agent BallSack

    Good work Cam, and unsurprising that this data would be released to you. You have an unswerving loyalty to the truth that no other MSM seem to be remotely interested in emulating.

  • Michael Ward

    Good stuff Cam. It’d be great to see the lamestream media report this stuff. Yeah right!!

    One comment though. You said “We also know…that Port of Tauranga workers earn more than current Ports of Auckland wharfies…” but Cairns actually said “many of our skilled workers actually earn more…” It may be pedantic but ‘many’ could be 3 or 4 workers. He didn’t state that the average earnings was more than POA wharfies.

    Keep up the good work.

  • kiwi in america

    Whaleoil 5 – Kelly/Parsloe 0

  • Jester

    Nice work Cam.

  • politically unstable

    It makes sense…get more productivity, win business, more cash to go around..more cash for employees and shareholders.

    MUNZ does not understand commercial logic and only think about them selves…as usual

    • Charlie the farmer

      Exactly, as an indirect exporter, SFF does that on meat producers behalf, why should we send anything through Auckland when theres no certainty that workers won’t just walk out and strike due to the hot water being off by 1 degree. This is’nt a go at POALs as W/Oil has shown them to be excellent employers. Its a shame that we will be punishing themas well as Auckland ratepayers for trying to be the best port they can be.

  • AnonWgtn

    Don’t let the so called media, and TV3, get these figures – they will lie to order, or actually ignore the whole scenario, as they cannot print supported truth.
    Eh Dunky ! or Goofy !

    •  What I never understand – well actually I do – is the information is out there to present a balanced and true picture – why aren’t we getting it from the media? 
      Question: Does anyone know what the average hourly rate is for a wharfie in Tauranga vesus (in this instance Ports of Auckland). Annual income I’m not interested in as its driven by hours worked and whether there are other allowances, share values etc in the equation?

      • Agent BallSack

        Neil, I think the media should be asking themselves the same question. Everything is driven by sensationalist headlines and to get more people driven to their websites, revenue streams etc. What they (and Duncan Garner) should be asking themselves is what is Whale doing right? We come here because aside from the friendly banter, we actually learn about the full picture. Modern ‘News” has nothing to do with investigative journalism anymore, just how many people will read your *bullshit* story.

      • Bunswalla

        Share values don’t enter the equation – they are separate investments made individually by each staff member that owns shares. No different to any other investment they may hold.

      • Steve (North Shore)

        Simple without using too many words,
        The Media are all leftie cogsuckers

      • Balanced View

        Neil, I suspect that the port of Tauranga would be reluctant to release this information due to the fact that employees of the contract companies would be on differing rates based on performance. And it would be demoralizing to learn that you were getting paid less than others. But I would love to get an indication as to what the comparisons are.

  • Grizz30

    Why does it take an independent blogger to go to POT and ask a couple of simple questions. Why cannot the repeaters covering this story for the MSM do this to verify statements made by third parties with a political agenda. The CTU seem to think the can make any old statement to certain journalists and it would be written up on the press as if it were gospel.

    • Quintin Hogg

      Grizz, that is because those certain churnalists are cretins.

    • Vij

      No, they won’t because they are lazy and overpaid like Kelly and Parsloe, and they don’t know how to report the news.  They only know how to create news and then report it as fact.

  • David Robinson

    I hate to play devils advocate but does anyone know if Tauranga include ACC claims from their contractors in these stats? If not it makes sense that they perform so well in comparison to other ports as they don’t directly employ any stevedores. Food for thought…

    • politically unstable

       DR  you have a valid point. They do not directly employ stevedores for the conventional ships. Although the straddle operators at Sulphur point are POT employees??? 

      • Tramper

        The staddle drivers are not Pot employees they are employed by the contracting companies.

    • Mark Cairns

      It includes all companies working on the Port David. Cheers Mark

      • Greg M

         Thank you for the “heads up” Mark, Facts have been in short supply from the main news sources, most appreciated.
        Regards Greg

  • Owl

    This is incredible stuff …well WO. I think there is some more embarrassing news when WO releases who has been paid to run Health and Safety programs on behalf of ACC

    • In Vino Veritas

      Nooooo!!! Please dont tell me those lines in the CTU accounts mean what you are intimating! This whole affair is turning into a good old fashioned farce.

      • Owl

        Yes see note 11 in the accounts of the NZCTU. Will let WO to release. What do you mean by old fashion farce?

      • In Vino Veritas

        Sorry owl. Farce (definition: light dramatic work which involves highly improbable plots, exaggerated characters and slapstick elements.) in terms of the CTU’s position on damn near everything to do with POAL. And yes, I looked throught the accounts after your post a few days ago and saw but didn’t understand the whys and wherefores, You’ve put a piece of the puzzle in and now I get it.

      • Greg M

         This is getting better by the day! Thank you Owl.

      • Owl

        Vino and greG. I don’t want to steal WO thunder but here are some snippets. NZCTU got millions to deliver health and safety programs. When WO decides to run the story you will see the amazing charge out rate by NZCTU. And trust me it will be amazing.

        Furthermore I am working on the EMPU’s a taste 5years ago the EMPU had equity of $18m in 2011 equity of $13m…..

    • Philip ure a cock

      Holy hell!!!!! Talk about the priest and the prostitute!

  • Euan Rt

    Cam, can you tell us what the right side of the grid actually stands for? Can’t read it.

    • Euan Rt

      sorry left side

    • It should say “All Claims per Million Payroll”

  • ConwayCaptain

    As I have said before to paraphrase Dr Johnson, “Safety is the last refuge of the Union”.  They will parrot safety but their member dont comply with simple safety issues like  wearing jandals when berthing/unberthing the ship, walking round with earphones in when working, pissed on duty etc etc.

    Biggest disaster I saw when working cargo was in TGA but nothing to do with the port.  Vessel had done a dry dock in Spore and they had re rigged one of the Heavy Lift derricks.

    A 40tonne Kalmar Fork lift was lifted off the wharf and had just reached the edge of the hatch and the brake gave way and the wire started running.  F/L hit the coaming and then toppled gracefully into the hold doing a beautiful half somersault.  The tower of the FL then went through the tank top but didnt go through the bottom.  Luckilly a ballast tank which was full.  The hold was awash with H2O and diesel from the kalmar!!!

    The Kalmar was a write off.  Uncle Les Dixon wasnt a happy chappy, neither was the mate and the shipping co.

    The dockyard had done a static pull test to test the SWL of the derrick, ie just attached the gear to a tension measurer and pulled on it, what theybshould have done was a swinging load test, ie lift the desired weight off the wharh and then swung the load across the ship and back.

    • Greg M

       Captain, that rings a few bells, what year was this ? I think I was alongside there with the “grey funnel line” when this happened.

      • ConwayCaptain

        About 1990

  • hoha

    Just a thought if the POA are J on that list, that it was all the non union workers pulling a sicky just so they could have a day away from the union workers.

    Or could it be the union workers slipping over in the toilets after stepping on their own piss after they had just spread it all over the toilet floor and forgot about.

    • Bunswalla

      I believe the figures relate to accidents and hours lost from accidents. Sick leave won’t be included in these numbers.

  • Pingback: The truth on Port of Tauranga | Kiwiblog()

  • Grumpy

    As Kelly first made these claims on Closeup with The Worlds Most Useless Interviewer, perhaps Sainsbury might like to set the record straight (Tui add)

  • Middleagedwhiteguy

    Perhaps Cam, you should talk to the workers at POT to see what sort of family life they have?   If this is what the Unions are on about, perhaps some reality in that debate should be injected as well?

    • Butts_McButts

      If it really is about that, then why are the MUNZ strikers holding signs talking about the CEO’s pay packet?

  • eszett

    Cam, what does the graph actually show, the legend is a bit distorted and for what period?

    • It should say “All Claims per Million Payroll”

      I am unsure of the timeframe

  • A-random-reader

    Good work Whale!

    You’ve been hitting nothing but sixes recently and it’s great to see.