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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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.