Page 1

The Issue 38 • Winter 2012

Maritimes Magazine of the Maritime Union of New Zealand

ISSN 1176-3418


Europe • Asia • Africa •America • Oceania

The Maritimes | Winter 2012 | 1


On Thursday 5 April 2012, Maritime Union of New Zealand Local 13 members ‘took back the port’ and walked in the gates of Ports of Auckland to resume their jobs. Thanks to the support of families and friends, the people of Auckland, and workers and their unions throughout New Zealand and the world, secure jobs and public ownership have been preserved at the Ports of Auckland. Thank you for your support and solidarity. We couldn’t have done it without you. Please encourage others to visit the site and sign our online petition. Or you can download a hard For secure jobs and and public ownership copy of our petition get your friends, family and workmates to sign it, then send it back to us.

Editorial – a change is going to come By Victor Billot “There were times when I thought I couldn’t last for long But now I think I’m able to carry on It’s been a long, a long time coming But I know a change gone come, oh yes it will” (Sam Cooke, A Change is Gonna Come) The words of the late great 60s soul legend Sam Cooke in his classic song about the US civil rights movement seem to sum up the mood of the world in 2012. This edition of the Maritimes reflects the dramatic events of the last few months. Since the beginning of the year, we have experienced three major industrial disputes in the private sector – the Ports of Auckland, Talley’s AFFCO and rest home workers. What is interesting here is the level of mutual support and ‘common cause’ that has emerged in our struggles. This issue of the Maritimes looks again at the Ports of Auckland. We look at the facts about the performance of the ports that contradict the manufactured crisis of management, and report on the latest developments in negotiations. We also feature a photo special of some of our supporters around the world in this dispute. It’s a remarkable display of solidarity and is only a fraction of the images we have available online on our Flickr website – make sure you check out our group which has contributed photos from around the world on Politically New Zealand is engaged in what seems like wars on fifty fronts. The education system, asset sales, free trade deals, maritime regulation, and the fishing industry have all been in the news lately. On the global front, the world is also experiencing ongoing turmoil. From the ongoing financial crisis that is now continuing to threaten major institutions like the European Union, to the conflicts that rage in the Middle East, there is a sense of events lurching from crisis to crisis. But along with the natural insecurity and concern this brings, are opportunities to take control of the direction of the future. In one hopeful sign, we see working people engaged in struggles to defend security and standards of employment against the never ending assault of capital to casualize and contract out work in order to sustain profits. One of the other interesting events of late includes the publication of ‘Jagged Seas’, the official history of the New Zealand Seamen’s Union by historian David Grant. We cover this publication and a number of the other books that have recently come out on maritime related issues in New Zealand. Happy reading.

The Maritimes Magazine Published quarterly by the Maritime Union of New Zealand. Authorized by Joe Fleetwood, 220 Willis Street, Wellington. ISSN 1176-3418 Editor: Victor Billot Mobile: 021 482219 Fax: 09 9251125 Email: Mail: PO Box 8135, Dunedin 9041, New Zealand Editorial Board: Joe Fleetwood, Garry Parsloe, Ray Fife and Carl Findlay Deadline for Spring 2012 edition: 1 October 2012

In this issue

Ports of Auckland dispute photo special page 24

Port of Tauranga: the reality of casualization page 14

Shipping industry reform in the wake of Rena page 19

Blood and salty water: New Zealand fishing industry shame page 20

Branch news page 30

Contact the Maritime Union

National Vice President: Carl Findlay Direct dial: 09 3034652 Mobile: 021 760887 Email:

Cover photos of global solidarity actions for Ports of Auckland workers, front top Valencia, Spain, front page bottom MUA delegates, Auckland, back page top ILWU, Seattle, USA, back page middle ITF Arab World Conference, Jordan, back page bottom, Paranagua, Brazil

National Office Telephone: 04 3850 792 Fax: 04 3848 766 Address: PO Box 27004, Wellington 6141 Office administrator: Ramesh Pathmanathan Email:

Thanks to our photographers for this edition Simon Oosterman, Greg Presland, Malcolm McNeill, Harry Holland, Alf Boyle, Terry Ryan, Shaun Scott, MUA, ILWU, ITF, and many others

General Secretary: Joe Fleetwood Direct dial: 04 8017614 Mobile: 021 364649 Email:

Website: Photos: Video: Facebook: Twitter:

National President: Garry Parsloe Direct dial: 09 3034652 Mobile: 021 326261 Email:


Assistant General Secretary: Ray Fife Direct dial: 03 2128189 Mobile: 0274 475317 Email: ITF Inspector: Grahame MacLaren Direct dial: 04 8017613 Mobile: 021 2921782 Email: Communications Officer: Victor Billot Mobile: 021 482219 Fax: 09 9251125 Address: PO Box 8135, Dunedin Email:

The Maritimes | Winter 2012 | 3

Global struggle, global solutions By General Secretary Joe Fleetwood

Ports of Auckland dispute

Since the last edition of the Maritimes, major developments have occurred in the ongoing Ports of Auckland dispute. Local 13 members at the Ports are now back at work, following the management abandoning their initial contracting out plan. We are now engaged in facilitation and trying to get negotiations back on track. The defining factor in the dispute was the discipline and solidarity of officials but more so the “Rank and File members” at Local 13, supported by our national office and members throughout the country. With the support of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions leadership and staff, and CTU affiliates, we fought back hard and got a result. The other element that ensured a positive outcome was the amazing level of support from the International Transport Workers Federation and its global affiliates, together with many other unionists and supporters around the world. The global family of workers took on our struggle as their own and an international campaign was mounted to back our Save Our Ports campaign. There are many others who have helped in big ways and small ways and it will not be forgotten. To all those who stood with MUNZ over the last few months, thank you. The reality is we have a long road ahead and this dispute is not over, it has just moved to a new phase. But the important point is that we have shown MUNZ to be a Union that punches well above its weight.

New Zealand’s economic and political chaos

In New Zealand, the only word to describe the current political and economic situation is chaotic. Every week a new barrage seems to arrive. The National Government in a few short months has gone from being flavour of the month to damaged goods. Much of the damage has been self inflicted. The current global recession and related political stresses are the end result of a generation of anti-working class policies.

4 | The Maritimes | Winter 2012

The reality is since the 1980s workers have been under sustained pressure. This is just another wave. The capitalist system is engulfed by crisis and in order to resolve the crisis, the ruling class (or the 1% as they are called these days) have embarked on a wide range of attacks on the working class majority. New Zealand is no exception to this global trend. Thus we see on going pressure to casualize and contract out jobs to provide “flexibility.” In other words, job security and real wages are destroyed to prop up the falling profits of greedy corporate enterprises. 

We see this in the Ports of Auckland dispute and also in the AFFCO workers’ dispute. These are just local examples of an international situation. Now the Government is moving to undermine legal protections for workers under the Employment Relations Act. The social provisions provided by the State and paid through taxes, such as health and education, are continually being downgraded. The current National Government has announced it will be making class sizes in New Zealand schools bigger. It seems we can’t afford to pay more teachers because all the money went on tax cuts for John Key and his gang of merry men who “take from the poor and give to the rich”. In his words “Vote for change” and people did. Good to know what his priorities are. As unemployment, poverty and insecurity rises, so do the number of people dependent on social welfare benefits to make ends meet.

Thus beneficiaries are used as scapegoats and treated as third class citizens in a society created by the so called ruling class. Reports of children foraging for food in some of New Zealand’s poorest communities are now largely accepted as normal. Deregulation is used to undermine standards in industry. The Rena grounding, the Pike River tragedy and the fishing industry scandal are all manifestations of past and present Governments abandoning their responsibility in the name of being “business friendly.”  By not regulating and not enforcing standards, the Government is saying that workers’ wellbeing and lives are expendable, and come second to business profit. Finally, there is a decline in a different type of standards and integrity.  A senior member of the Government, John Banks, is entangled in a web of his own making with a rogue digital entrepreneur.  The Prime Minister, John Key, plays fast and loose and changes laws to suit Hollywood executives and casino bosses. The rot has set in, and it’s going to be a big job turning things around.

Austerity for workers, luxury for executives We are currently watching Phase Two of the collapse of the globalized corporate capitalist system. The United States is still mired in mass unemployment. China is engaged in a juggling act to maintain rising living standards, dependent on cheap exports and the suppression of the rights of workers. Europe is now in meltdown mode, with the only positive sign being a spirit of resistance to the “austerity” con. Austerity is reserved of course for the working people. Their jobs, incomes and dignity will be sacrificed to prop up the wealth of a privileged few. There is no austerity for the CEO and management class or their political puppets. Their salaries, perks and golden handshakes continue to bloom regardless of their incompetence or moral bankruptcy.

At the Maritime Union of New Zealand May 2012 national executive meeting, from left, General Secretary Joe Fleetwood, Maritime Union of Australia Assistant National Secretary Warren Smith, National President Garry Parsloe, Assistant General Secretary Ray Fife and National Vice President Carl Findlay

Austerity is just for the workers, not for the bosses. Fortunately it appears the majority is beginning to appreciate that the rules of the game are rigged, and are starting to say “No”. People need to remember “If you fight you don’t always win, but if you don’t fight you lose” – the time is now to “Stand up – Fight back”.

National Executive meeting

The Maritime Union national executive met in Wellington for our twice yearly meeting in May 2012. The meeting was very much focussed on covering the major events of the last few months and also putting in place a pathway to get to the future we want for the Union. A full report on the progress of the Ports of Auckland dispute featured. In addition the meeting discussed internal union matters such as our strategic plan and the sector reports that our national officials now provide for the four general areas of coverage (Offshore, coastal shipping, bulk and general stevedoring, and stevedoring terminals.) Looking forward for 2012 we have the upcoming three yearly elections for national officials, and the Triennial Conference to be held later this year.

Our guest was Assistant National Secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia Warren Smith. This was Warren’s first time attending one of our exec meetings on behalf of the MUA. He had just returned from a conference of the National Union of Miners in South Africa and provided some insight into that major union’s struggle. Warren gave a full report on the Australian scene and made a good contribution to our discussions. Thank you comrade and we look forward to seeing you again in the future. Other reports included the Finance Committee and an informative presentation by Ashley Goss of AON who are our superannuation fund managers. The ongoing union rules review was covered as well, and we are now in the final phases of the update of the rules and aiming to have them signed off at this year’s Triennial Conference.

Considerable work has been put into putting together a platform for a strong future, to be discussed at the Conference. This includes the development of training and education, a strategic plan for the Union based on a sector by sector analysis, and the updating of our Rules. As usual we are expecting a strong representation from all branches and a good international delegation. We encourage all branches to consider sending younger or less experienced members with leadership potential as observers, to develop their understanding of our Union. In addition, elections for the four national officers of the Union will be held around this time. All members are encouraged to ensure their membership contact details are up to date and correct, so they receive their postal voting forms and take part in their democratic right to choose the leadership of their Union.

Triennial Conference

Kia Kaha Tatau Tatau (Be strong we are all one)

This November the Maritime Union will be holding its fourth Triennial Conference in Wellington. This conference will be a major event. Our Union has gone through its most serious industrial dispute in recent times, and we’ll be taking the opportunity to say thank you to those who stood with us.

The Maritimes | Winter 2012 | 5

Ports of Auckland update

Latest update in Bill aims for port Ports of Auckland transparency dispute Following hearings at the Employment Court on 30 March 2012, Ports of Auckland withdrew its lockout notice and stopped its plan to dismiss its workforce and contract out the jobs. On 5 April, workers returned to their jobs at Ports of Auckland Limited. Negotiations are ongoing at the time of writing through a formal facilitation process, convened by the Employment Relations Authority.

6 | The Maritimes | Winter 2012

The Maritime Union is backing a proposed bill from Labour MP Darien Fenton to make sure Ports are covered by official information laws. Ports’ exclusion from official information laws covering central and local government has always been an anomaly, and the Ports of Auckland dispute has highlighted the need for them to be included, Maritime Union president Garry Parsloe says. “The Port is one of the most important assets Aucklanders own. The public deserves the right to ask the hard questions about how their Port is being managed on their behalf.” “Having access to information, in the same way the public does with other central and local government functions, is an essential part of this,” says Mr Parsloe.

Council “good employer” move The Maritime Union has welcomed moves by the owners of Ports of Auckland to ensure it acts as a good employer. The Auckland City Council has directed its investment company Auckland Council Investments Limited (ACIL) to endeavour to ensure that Ports of Auckland Limited (POAL) comply with ACIL’s personnel policy and good employer provisions, and work with the Council to agree the best productivity target for the Port. On 30 April the Council directed that it: • “Requires ACIL to endeavour to ensure that its personnel policy and good employer obligations, including the definition of a good employer, are also complied with by its wholly owned companies Auckland Film Studios and Ports of Auckland Limited,” • “and that Council works with ACIL on the best productivity target for the Ports of Auckland”.

Government plans attack on workers through law changes

Global solidarity: ILWU Local 13 join the 5 April Auckland rally to support MUNZ

Local solidarity: Meat Workers Union members from Talley’s AFFCO join with MUNZ at the Ports of Auckland picket line

New Zealand unions are warning that employment law changes planned by the National Government are an attack on workers’ pay and conditions. The planned removal of the duty to conclude collective bargaining will be seen as the ‘Port of Auckland clause’ because the Government knows that the port wanted to abandon collective bargaining and instead contract out. CTU President Helen Kelly says the Government has a responsibility to promote collective bargaining. “Instead they are undermining it and they know this will further reduce pay and conditions for New Zealand workers.” “We have seen over 53,000 people leave for Australia in the last year. We need a law that can lift pay and conditions through industry standard agreements rather than another round of attacks on workers’ rights.” Helen Kelly says that the changes are not minor, but significant. “Removing the 30 day protection for new workers when they start a job in a workplace with a collective agreement is heartless, it is making vulnerable workers even more vulnerable.” “The deductions from workers’ pay for partial strike action is another attack on the rights of workers. It is designed to force workers either into a full strike or to abandon any action. It is punitive and onesided when the major industrial relations problems we face are extensive lockouts.”

Maritime Union online

The Maritimes | Winter 2012 | 7

Secrets and lies

The facts about Ports of Auckland, port productivity and casualization For months, the public of Auckland and New Zealand were told that Ports of Auckland was under performing, in decline and how there was a desperate “need for change.” Now that port management’s contracting out plan has been shelved, questions are being asked after months of disruption that has come at a huge and uncounted cost to workers, the port’s owners, and the wider economy. How did things get to this point? This issue of the Maritimes features two articles that analyze the background to the Ports of Auckland dispute. In the first article, we reproduce a report sent by Maritime Union of New Zealand National President Garry Parsloe to Auckland City councillors in May 2012. This report picks apart the arguments of port management that Auckland is somehow an inferior port in need of radical upheaval. We marshal the facts that show that in reality Auckland’s performance is in line with most Australasian ports. If this is the case, what is the real agenda behind management’s actions? In our second article, journalist Alison McCulloch of Tauranga investigates the plight of workers with insecure and casual jobs at the Port of Tauranga. Since the Ports of Auckland management and right wing pundits have promoted the “Tauranga model” as the answer to port issues, it is worth examining the human cost of casualization and insecure work at the Port of Tauranga. This dirty secret is something that Port CEOs, anti-union employers and right wing pundits would rather keep hidden. 8 | The Maritimes | Winter 2012

The following report was sent to Auckland City Councillors by Maritime Union of New Zealand National President Garry Parsloe on 3 May 2012. There have been some minor edits for publication purposes. Dear Councillor We appreciated the opportunity to meet with you last week and to be able to brief you on the Ports of Auckland (POAL) dispute particularly in relation to the legal issues and the risks and costs of the current course of action by the Ports of Auckland Board and management. Ultimately these costs and risks are carried by you on behalf of the people of Auckland through ACIL. ACIL is responsible for providing you with independent advice which we believe has been lacking – particularly in relation to the legal situation. During the course of our discussion a number of questions were asked regarding the performance of the Port. These issues included questions around the return from the Port, the productivity of the Port and in particular comparisons between the Port of Auckland and the Port of Tauranga. As workers on the Port of Auckland we are vitally interested in the success of the Port – both for our own job security and also to ensure there is a good return to our owner – the people of Auckland. We have been pleased to play a part in improving the performance of the Port and are committed to ensuring that the Port is even more successful. In bargaining we have offered up a significant number of proposals to improve labour utilisation and flexibility. We have also offered to extend the very successful productivity enhancing process TRACC from our world class engineering department to all parts of the Port. Over the last few months there have been a number of assertions about the performance of the Port of Auckland which have been designed to convey the view that the Port is not performing well and is in crisis. This has then been used to justify the need for radical change in relation to employment conditions at the Port and in particular promoting a contracting out model as a solution. (You will recall that on 7 March 2012 we sent you a substantial document outlining our concerns about POAL’s proposed contracting model). In addressing the question of the Port’s performance there is a need to consider a range of measures and the need to be clear about definitions, clear about what is being compared and clear on factors that impact on how directly comparable any two or more Ports are.

In this letter we try to outline a clear summary of the Port of Auckland performance. We attach an International Transport Federation (ITF) document which provides further detail. The Port of Auckland is productive and making money for the people of Auckland The Ports of Auckland Ltd’s own Annual Report notes that the container and bulk cargo volumes were up in the 2010/2011 year despite the economic situation (particularly relevant as it is primarily an import port). We note that these results are prior to the onset of the dispute, which of course significantly affected volumes for the 2011 calendar year. Last September, Ports of Auckland congratulated port workers for achieving record hourly container moves and put on a BBQ. “All time best” crane rates were achieved at the same time. The port’s own publicity in the last couple of years talks of record highs of container volumes and how workforce productivity has steadily improved. A Ministry of Transport report says New Zealand ports including Auckland move containers at a rate as good as and sometimes better than Australian and other international ports. In looking at our performance it is very important to look at the trend. On a broad range of measures, POAL’s performance is improving.

POAL’s productivity compares well with similar ports The many differences between ports mean it is difficult to make fair comparisons of their productivity results. Despite concerns about the comparability of data, a report produced by the NZ Ministry of Transport called ‘Container Productivity at New Zealand Ports’ in October 2011 provided an indicative assessment of the position of NZ ports in terms of international productivity. It suggests that NZ ports average around the middle of the international crane rate rankings that it presented.

There are many measures that can be used to compare productivity, like ship rates, vessel rates and crane rates. POAL’s demand for radical changes in employment conditions implies that it considers that labour productivity is the weakest factor in the port’s productivity record. However the best commonly quoted indicator of labour productivity is the “vessel rate” – the number of containers moved per person per hour. Tauranga and Auckland have very similar rates (57.3 and 55 at March 2011 – well ahead of all other New Zealand ports). This suggests that technology, equipment, port layout and size, operating procedures, ship and cargo types are much more important factors than labour practices or contracting out. In this regard, Ports of Auckland’s plan to reduce capital expenditure may be a poor choice. The practices of shipping lines and shippers can also affect port productivity. A judgement based solely on a single measure like crane rates can be misleading – especially when comparing POAL with Tauranga, which benefits from less congestion because of its greater acreage per container, for example. Note that this was illustrated by the Port of Tauranga itself identifying the drop in productivity it experienced due to more congestion caused by the dispute with ships bypassing Auckland. Auckland has higher yard utilisation than Tauranga according to the final report of the Productivity Commission into International Freight Services. The report also notes that “Ports and shipping lines make trade-offs between price and speed, and this trade-off is not captured by a measure of speed of operations such as containers loaded per hour.” One example we are aware of is that Tauranga’s practice is to unload containers and temporarily stow them in the container terminal rather than move them immediately to the marshalling areas or elsewhere. They are moved once the ship’s loading has been completed. This raises the crane rate at the expense of double handling of containers. The graphs on the next page show that POAL compares well to Australian ports.

The Maritimes | Winter 2012 | 9

The Productivity Commission gives the following definitions:











-­‐0 9

-­‐0 9   Ju l-­‐0 9 Se   p-­‐ 09 No   v-­‐ 09 Ja   n-­‐ 10   M ar -­‐1 M 0   ay -­‐1 0   Ju l-­‐1 0 Se   p-­‐ 10 No   v-­‐ 10 Ja   n-­‐ 11   M ar -­‐1 1  


Ship Rates   70   60  





Australian average  






Sydney 9 Se   p-­‐ 09 No   v-­‐ 09 Ja   n-­‐ 10   M ar -­‐1 M 0   ay -­‐1 0   Ju l-­‐1 0 Se   p-­‐ 10 No   v-­‐ 10 Ja   n-­‐ 11   M ar -­‐1 1  










Crane Rates   50   45   40   35   30   25   20   15   10   5   0  

Adelaide Brisbane   Melbourne   Australian  average   Fremantle   Sydney   ay -­‐0 9   Ju l-­‐0 9 Se   p-­‐ 09 No   v-­‐ 09 Ja   n-­‐ 10   M ar -­‐1 M 0   ay -­‐1 0   Ju l-­‐1 0 Se   p-­‐ 10 No   v-­‐ 10 Ja   n-­‐ 11   M ar -­‐1 1  

Drewry (2010)1 identifies and measures a range of criteria which have an impact on port productivity performance. POAL generally compares very well when compared to global and regional averages of ports in its class. In terms of the classifications used by Drewry, Fergusson and Bledisloe would qualify as medium and small sized terminals respectively. Combined, POAL would qualify as a medium sized terminal, although given that smaller terminals have lower productivity on average, this is not a fair comparison. Even when statistics for both wharves are combined, however, POAL still performs well compared to global and regional averages. Drewry (2010) state that a host of factors influence achievable moves per hour besides the technical specification of the crane. These include operator skill and attitude, the speed of the feed of containers to and from the container stacks, the type of vessel being worked, the number of moves per hatch and the extent to which cranes have to be moved between holds.

Australian average  



International productivity comparisons



The number of containers a dockside crane moves on or off a container ship in an hour (not including time when the ship is alongside the wharf but not being worked). A measure of how efficiently the crane (capital) is used, which will be significantly influenced by how effectively the overall port operation is organised and operated.



Crane rate



The number of containers moved on or off a ship in an hour. A broader measure, but one that does not take account of how much resource is being used – e.g, working a ship with two cranes rather than one will result in more containers being moved per hour, but possibly not twice as many.



Ship rate


ar -­‐0

The number of containers moved on and off a container ship in an hour of labour. A measure focused on the productivity of labour – which depends in part on the machinery (e.g, cranes) being used.



Vessel rate

Vessel Rates  

What is TRACC?

TRACC is a method of making continuous improvements in how a firm works. It is based on making use of industry best practice and developing skills and talents by engagement and collaboration between workers and management with the aim of transforming the organisational culture. TRACC has worked well at the Port.

All of our experience and academic research shows that employees’ productivity increases when they are engaged in their work and have an input into how the work is undertaken. Skill and experience combined with real engagement are the hallmarks of successful businesses. The impact of poor management leading to loss of skilled workers and demoralisation of employees can be productivity losses. It is important that this is not what happens as a consequence of the current dispute.

10 | The Maritimes | Winter 2012


The Ports of Auckland is now required by the Auckland Council to increase its profits – the Council is demanding the company’s “Return on Equity to increase from 6.3% to 12.0% over the following 5 years” (i.e. 2012-2016). This is a big ask – as you will see below, no major New Zealand port has got near 12% return in the last five years. Neither have any of the major Australian ports we’ve analysed (although Fremantle has got close with a very different trade mix). The average rates of return in the national transport services sector which includes the ports (Postal, Courier, Transport Support, and Warehousing) are even lower than the ports according to Statistics New Zealand – in 2010 for example it was 4.8% return on equity before tax 3 (the Council measure is after tax). Again, it is difficult to compare port for port. International comparisons of Return on Equity are fraught with problems.

The Ports maintain that over 10 years, they’ve lost 12% market share to Tauranga (advertisement “Open letter to Aucklanders”, New Zealand Herald, 8 March 2012, p.A9). Looking at the publicly available data – for overseas cargo2 – Auckland’s share of cargo fell 5.3 percentage points by value between calendar years 2001 and 2011 – not 12%. For the ten most recent years unaffected by the dispute – 2000 to 2010 – it lost just 2.6% of its market share.




Firstly, they are after tax, so are highly sensitive not only to company tax rates but also the various regimes of depreciation, tax deductions and incentives that exist around the world. Secondly, ROE is highly sensitive to the valuation of the company’s assets. Again there will be different methodologies allowed and used around the world, and companies will have their own motivations for raising or lowering the book value of their asset base. Asset values will also be affected by the location of the ports in question. Thirdly, Ports of Auckland is using a “normalised” return on equity for its target. The definition of this is not clear but it appears to adjust for asset revaluations, impairments, sales of assets and changes in tax rates, which is difficult to carry out consistently and rigorously for international comparisons. Finally, ports are in differing competitive environments. Some will have a near monopoly, others will be in a more





37.7% 2007  






28.8% 24.9%  





























Auckland and  Tauranga  -­‐  total  overseas  cargo  shares  by  value     2000-­‐2012  


We want the Port to continue to perform well and to continue to return a fair dividend to the ratepayers of Auckland and to make further improvements in performance for shippers and New Zealand. This has been demonstrated by our cooperation and participation in the TRACC productivity improvement initiative at the Port to date. TRACC has been used to make excellent performance gains in the engineering department. There have been increases in productivity at the Port over the year in stevedoring as well. During the negotiations MUNZ agreed to the use of TRACC across the whole of the Port. We have also put up a number of proposals during bargaining to significantly increase labour utilisation and flexibility. We offered amendments to the current collective agreement including changing overtime provisions, break times, roster allocations and a range of other changes that would increase labour utilisation and maintain employment security. A real improvement in the performance of the Port within a decent work framework is possible if the Collective Employment Agreement is settled and these proposals accepted.

Ports of Auckland market share


Rostering/ utilisation/ TRACC

But, most importantly, Port of Auckland is recovering from its lost share. At least it was, until the dispute lost it share again in 2011 and 2012. Auckland’s share of exports by value bottomed out in 2004 and between then and 2010 it increased from 21.5% to 25.3%. Over the same period, Tauranga’s share actually fell – from 27.1% to 25.2%. On imports, Auckland bottomed out at 44.7% in 2008 but was up to 51.3% by 2010. Over the same period, Tauranga’s share fell from 15.6% to 12.9%. In total, between 2008 and 2010, both ports actually gained share – Ports of Auckland from 35.0% to 37.3%, and Tauranga from 19.3% to 19.5%.

2012 January   only  

competitive environment. Both their monopoly position and the country’s competition laws and their enforcement will impact directly and significantly on their profits. For domestic comparisons, where a port is situated relative to a major city, and its asset valuation policies will greatly affect the valuation of its assets. The kinds of cargo a port deals with also affect a port’s productivity and profit. But even putting these problems aside, Ports of Auckland is above average for actual Return on Equity, and only slightly below average for underlying Return on Equity4 (which is similar to the “normalised” measure being used for POAL’s target). Fremantle has had returns around 10%, but as described above is a very different operation from Auckland. This indicates that Auckland will require significant reductions in labour costs, increases in prices to customers, and cuts in investment to meet the target. The Maritimes | Winter 2012 | 11

Productivity Commission on port charges

Australian and  New  Zealand  port  profitability   Actual  return  on  equity  a7er  tax:  2007-­‐2011  

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

2009 2010 2011

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

2010 2011

2007 2008


2007 2008 2009 2010 2011


2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

20% 18%   16%   14%   12%   10%   8%   6%   4%   2%   0%   -­‐2%   -­‐4%  

Ports of   Auckland  

Port of   Centreport   Ly?elton   Tauranga  



Melbourne Fremantle  


Australian and  New  Zealand  port  profitability   Underlying  return  on  equity  a8er  tax:  2007-­‐2011  

Ports of   Auckland  

Port of   Centreport   Ly>elton   Tauranga  



2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

2009 2010 2011

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011


2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

20% 18%   16%   14%   12%   10%   8%   6%   4%   2%   0%  

Melbourne Fremantle  


Government report on productivity The Productivity Commission, a government body, released its report into International Freight Transport this month. Sadly the report fails to address some of the most important issues. Its focus is port profitability – yet its own data shows the biggest problems lie in high prices charged by the shipping lines. While it recommends making price agreements between shipping lines subject to the Commerce Act, it misses the opportunity to address shipping company dominance and recommend effective ways for the ports to work together strategically from a national viewpoint. The final report did however see a significant shift in the Commission’s view on employment relations in the ports. It made no recommendations on employment relations, but noted the importance of healthy relationships between employer and employees. The weight of the report’s recommendations is to commercialise the ports: it says that their principal objective should be to be a successful commercial business; encourages partial privatisation; and recommends removing local government representatives and staff from their boards. Governance and legislative changes are all aimed at strictly commercial management. That leaves little room for regional development aspirations and the non-commercial aspects of a port.

Data compiled by the Productivity Commission for its report on International Freight Services shows that Auckland port charges are much lower than Sydney and Long Beach (California) and surprisingly competitive with Singapore (given its relative size and characteristics) and Shanghai (given its size and very low labour costs). The report showed quotes it had received for a standardised freight shipment to and from Sydney, Shanghai, Singapore and Long Beach, with comparisons for the same shipment to and from Sydney. The port (origin or destination) charges are shown in the graph below. Auckland’s charges as port of origin were on average 56 percent of Sydney’s. Auckland’s charges as destination were on average 54 percent of Sydney’s, 72 percent of Long Beach’s, 33 percent higher than Singapore’s and 64 percent higher than Shanghai’s. It appears that Auckland may be significantly undercharging, either as a policy decision or because of competition with other ports such as Tauranga. If the Auckland Council perseveres with its demand for doubling the Port’s rate of return on equity, it must mean significantly increased port charges to shippers. That is presumably what is meant by the Port’s management when they say they will be “increasing the revenue per container” in order to raise profits. On the other hand, the same Productivity Commission data shows that seafreight costs (i.e. those charged by the shipping companies) are between 27 percent and a huge 635 percent higher on the Auckland routes than on the Sydney routes. It appears that the shipping companies are pocketing any efficiencies the ports have provided them and are charging rates that from a shipper’s viewpoint drown out any port efficiency or price cutting effects in total freight costs. Footnotes 1. Drewry have over 40 years’ experience within the maritime sector, employing over 90 specialists across its international offices in London, Delhi, Singapore and Shanghai. Offering research reports and advisory services, it is regarded as a respected source in the maritime industry. 2. Statistics New Zealand – Overseas Cargo statistics by value (cif or fob). 3. Annual Enterprise Surveys 2005-2010, Statistics New Zealand 4. Excludes revaluations, impairments, and gains/losses on asset disposals.

12 | The Maritimes | Winter 2012


Port charges  

Averages quoted  to  ProducEvity  Commission  for   standard  shipment  

So in summary MUNZ is saying that:


* In considering performance it is important to recognise the need to consider a range of measures and to ensure comparisons attempt to compare like with like.

$800 $700   $600  



Long Beach,  $625  

Shanghai, $274  


Singapore, $336  


Sydney, $822  


Sydney, $735  

Auckland, $409  


Auckland, $447  



Import port-­‐to-­‐port  freight  costs  to  Auckland   and  Sydney   $5,000   $4,500   $4,000   $3,500   $3,000   $2,500   $2,000   $1,500   $1,000   $500   $0  

From Singapore   From  Long  Beach,  California   From  Shanghai  

* POAL is productive and making money for the people of Auckland. Financial results prior to the dispute were significantly improved despite the economic climate. * In measuring performance it is important to consider the trend. On a broad range of measures POAL performance is improving. * POAL’s productivity compares well with similar ports. In the most commonly quoted indicator of labour productivity “vessel rate” Tauranga and Auckland have very similar rates as at March 2011, and better than all Australian ports. * The union has made a number of offers during bargaining that will improve performance both from increased flexibility but also a commitment to extending a successful productivity improvement process. * Until the dispute POAL was recovering lost market share. * No Australasian port got near a 12% return to equity. There are real difficulties in comparing ROE.

Auckland Sydney   Auckland   Sydney   Auckland   Sydney   Sea  freight  charges  

Port charges  

Total Freight  

* A significant factor affecting profitability is port charges and it appears that Auckland is significantly undercharging. In conclusion MUNZ reiterates our commitment to ensuring the success of the POAL and continuing to improve its performance.

Export port-­‐to-­‐port  freight  costs  from  Auckland   and  Sydney   $4,000   $3,500   $3,000   $2,500  

To Singapore   To  Long  Beach,  California   To  Shanghai  

$2,000 $1,500   $1,000   $500   $0  

Auckland Sydney   Auckland   Sydney   Auckland   Sydney   Sea  freight  charges  

Port charges

Total Freight   The Maritimes | Winter 2012 | 13

On the Tauranga Waterfront Unpacking the casualizing of how and when you work By Alison McCulloch Chris has been a “seagull’ at the Port of Tauranga for 12 years, and knows first-hand what it’s like working on a waterfront lauded by many as the “model” for the Ports of Auckland Ltd (POAL) in its current dispute with its workers. Just like the birds they’re named after, the “seagulls” get to pick up the leftovers – the shifts and hours unfilled by the permanent and guaranteed-hour workers. Like hundreds of other seagulls, or casuals, Chris is on-call and can be asked to work at an hour’s notice, never knowing when – or whether – the next shift is coming. Say “No” to an offer of work because you have other plans, and you might not be called back. Sure, Chris would love to get some guaranteed hours, or better yet be made a permanent – or a ‘perm’ as they’re called – but under the Tauranga “model” of efficiency, competitiveness and lower cost, that’s not likely to happen.

“You’ll probably never become permanent on the ports,” Chris says, “but guaranteed hours would be good. If they could guarantee you 28 hours, if they could guarantee you 35 hours. It doesn’t happen, and there aren’t any opportunities to apply for that”. It can be tough to plan a life, and, for those with families, even to make ends meet. “I get by,” Chris says. “Generally you’ll pick up a shift or two and generally you’ll pick up as many hours as the perms, but I don’t have children to feed and I don’t have a mortgage – for anybody looking for a job that’s going to cover a mortgage and a family they’re looking in the wrong place”. For Chris, it’s not just a local Tauranga issue, or even one limited to the waterfront. “It’s not the port’s fault,” Chris says. “They’re taking advantage of what the government – or the employer’s association – did years ago: casualization, everywhere in New Zealand”. Chris is not this worker’s real name. It turns out that it’s not so easy to find casuals at the ports of Tauranga willing to talk. And not so hard to understand why. Tauranga is a competitive place to work – get on the wrong side of a stevedoring company, and your career on the wharfs might be a short one.

Casualization has been the norm at the Tauranga for years now, and it’s really only the old-timers, and the port’s dwindling number of permanents, who know what it’s like to have a reliable, stable job on the waterfront. Jim Gibson was a wharfie for 32 years, and held posts in the old Waterfront Worker’s Union, a precursor to the current Maritime Union of New Zealand (MUNZ). Back before 1989 under the Waterfront Industry Commission, a government body that registered and employed waterfront workers – and before the Employment Contracts and Employment Relations acts of the 90s – Gibson and his fellow wharfies had a guaranteed 40 hours work a week, earned different rates for things like dirty or extra dangerous work, and had benefits including a superannuation fund subsidized by the employer. Gibson knows a young wharfie for whom that kind of job security is hard to imagine. He sometimes works as much 126 hours in 10 days which, at just over $20 an hour, is definitely good money – while it lasts. And not all casuals get that rate, with some on around $16 an hour. “They’ve kept their casuals with the false promise you’re going to be made permanent next month – next month – next month,” Gibson says.

14 | The Maritimes | Winter 2012

“They don’t become permanent because the employer is quite happy, he’s got shipping, the guys are there, but what was happening was they over-supplied the casual labour, and people were only getting maybe $20 or $30 more working for a week over there than they were by being on the dole”. Unsurprisingly, Gibson – an honorary lifetime member of the union – backs the Auckland’s Local 13 in their contract dispute aimed, in part, at keeping the Tauranga model at bay. “They’re not arguing for more money,” he says, “All they want is a permanent condition of employment and believe you me they’re entitled to it – anybody is”. So how did Tauranga end up with such a different waterfront than Auckland? Professor James Reveley, of the School of Management and Marketing at the University of Wollongong, has been researching and writing about New Zealand port labour relations since 1990. He says it’s mainly because Auckland’s union was simply stronger. Although obliterated after the 1951 strike, the union managed to rebuild itself into one of the strongest in the country. “In fact the term often used in employer circles and also within union circles is ‘Fortress Auckland’,” Reveley says, “because they’ve been very successful at keeping rates of casualization/casual labour low and keeping their workforce unionized, whereas Tauranga’s been a lot less successful”.

‘Company’ Unions Indeed, even Tauranga’s unionized workforce is dispersed across four unions, two of which are widely seen as “company” (or less politely “yellow”) unions, and which aren’t affiliated with the Council of Trade Unions (CTU). These unions, the Surfside Employees Association (SEA) and the Amalgamated Stevedores Union (ASU), both formed in 2000, prefer to limit their memberships to workers at particular companies. The rules of the Surfside Employees Association, for example, state that “membership of the Association shall be open to any person who is employed or engaged to be employed as a stevedore by the firm Independent Stevedoring Ltd (ISL) and as the Committee shall from time to time decide”. The ASU, meanwhile, is linked to another major stevedoring firm, ISO, which said in a submission to the Productivity Commission that it has more than 400 workers under contract with New Zealand Associates Limited, “who are members of the independent Amalgamated Stevedores Union”.

According to membership returns, which every union has to provide the Department of Labour, Surfside had 82 members last year while the ASU had 308. (Nationally, MUNZ had 2,580 and while the biggest union at the port of Tauranga, the CTU-affiliated Rail and Maritime Transport Union, had 4,747.) The two non-affiliated unions are hard to pin down. I could find little to no information online or elsewhere about them. I did reach the president of the ASU, who said he was headed out of town and wouldn’t be able to comment until he returned in a couple of weeks. In an effort to find a contact for Surfside, I called the offices of ISL, which states on its Web site that its staff “decided to form their own union, the Surfside Employees’ Association, more than nine years ago”. A staff member at ISL said he did not know how to reach the union, adding that the company had nothing to do with it. According to Garry Parsloe, the president of MUNZ’s Auckland Local 13, unions like the Surfside and ASU aren’t represented on the Auckland waterfront – another of the things that would surely change if MUNZ loses its current dispute there. One reason to set up boutique unions is to enable company-wide collective employment agreements – something for which you need a registered union. For smaller outfits without big HR departments, being able to set wages and conditions across the company’s workforce has obvious advantages. Other less benign reasons include having better control of the workforce, weakening traditional union power, and, in some cases, helping employers win the public relations wars that are so important in industrial disputes. Reveley expands on this latter point in a 2002 paper he wrote on the impact of the Employment Relations Act on the waterfront. In a 2001 dispute at South Island ports that involved the ASU and the then Waterfront Workers Union, he explained, “employer interests were able to define the confrontation variously as a ‘classic example of a demarcation dispute’ between two unions”. Reveley quoted the National Business Review, which described the dispute as being “about an entrenched union trying to muscle aside another union and hold back progress on New Zealand wharves”.

‘Seagulls’ Among the things I was interested to ask the company unions, if I’d managed to get hold of them, was what percentage of their members are casuals and what percentage are permanents, or have guaranteed minimum weekly hours. As with so much about the ports, getting data on things like casuals isn’t easy. A spokesman for the Port of Tauranga Ltd said the company didn’t gather hard data on port-wide casualization rates, and those cited ranged from 80% casuals (from a union member) to an estimated 12 percent - 20 percent (from the Port of Tauranga Ltd). The port company’s own workforce of about 160 includes roughly 12 percent casuals, the port said, while according to the CTU, the national figure for CTU affiliated members working the waterfront is 25 percent casual. The levels of casualization among non-union workers and those who are members of the company unions are likely to be higher. Reveley suspects that a lack of information on issues like casualisation is actually a political and economic strategy. “Any government is going to be concerned about a core industry like that – about how much casualization there is on the waterfront,” he says. “And firms aren’t going to give it out because it’s commercial and confidential information”. Whatever the number of casuals among Tauranga’s roughly 1,200-strong workforce, it’s clear that it’s been rising over the years. Under the Tauranga model, there’s no cap on the level of casuals, something that is in place in Auckland where, according to MUNZ’s magazine, The Maritimes, the maximum is 20 percent. (Another 27 percent are permanent but only guaranteed 24 hours a week, while 53 percent are permanent full-timers.) In the late 1970s, according to Reveley, there were almost no casuals on the waterfront – a situation that was to change dramatically in the wake of port reform in 1989 and the subsequent labour relations overhauls. In the four years to 1997 he wrote in a paper published that same year, “numbers of casual workers have increased dramatically, casuals are now being utilised in skilled positions (like operating forklifts and shipboard cranes), and the level of unionization of casuals has declined”.

The Maritimes | Winter 2012 | 15

But Reveley, too, found reliable figures hard to get, pointing out that since the abolition of the Waterfront Industry Commission in 1989 “no figures are kept by any government agency that could be used to indicate the numbers of casuals”. All sides agree that port work has special flexibility requirements, with labour needs dependent on the unpredictable arrival and departure of ships. Werewolf asked the Port of Tauranga Ltd if it saw itself as a model or example for other port operations like Auckland, and while the company didn’t offer a yes or no answer, a spokesman, Terry James, said it was “satisfied” with its current model, “which is in our view best suited to handle the vagaries of work demands within the shipping industry”. James continued: “We understand Ports of Auckland still work traditional roster patterns so we assume that they incur significant downtime, which is ultimately a cost borne by the importers/exporters using Ports of Auckland”. For its part, MUNZ says its Auckland agreement already allows for the kind of flexibility the port needs, and what POAL really wants is to take away guaranteed weekly hours. As well as the impact on the incomes and quality of life of its workers, Local 13, like its branch in Tauranga, worries about the health and safety implications of allowing more and more casual workers onto the wharves.

‘A Very Dangerous Environment’ For Chris, the Tauranga “seagull,” safety is a huge concern. “Always new casuals,” Chris says. “It makes it dangerous for the people that work there – they’re barely there long enough to be called experienced”. When the company is busy and short on staff, Chris says it brings in inexperienced labour hire workers – and the port “is a very dangerous environment to be in even if you are experienced”. The issue is a sensitive one on both sides, and in Tauranga it has been at the centre of a very public disagreement between MUNZ and the port company, with claims and counter claims filling the pages of the local daily, The Bay of Plenty Times. MUNZ’s Tauranga organizer, Selwyn Russell, told the newspaper in February that casual workers were too scared to report accidents, and it was not uncommon to have incidents involving “digits, little bits of fingers, arms and sprained ankles”. The newspaper also reported that according to the Department of Labour, there had been five serious harm incidents at the port in 2011 and it went on to quote an anonymous casual worker who said that when faced with reporting an injury, the consensus was “oh nah, keep your head down and do the job”.

The port company hit back, issuing a press release disputing the union’s claims and arguing that it was using the issue to “advance their position on the current dispute with Ports of Auckland”. The port told me something similar: “We are convinced that this ‘revelation’ from MUNZ was designed to remove the raison d’etre of POAL’s campaign to move to the Port of Tauranga model”. The port gave several reasons for this conclusion, including that MUNZ had not mentioned this issue at the port’s monthly health and safety forum. “We don’t see why a worker would not wish to report an accident to his supervisor and we reject the notion that any employee should feel intimidated in doing so,” the company said. Russell stands by his comments, describing the situation as a vicious Catch 22: if a contractor or worker sticks their head up, they might lose contracts or work. He said it wasn’t just casuals who had suffered injuries that weren’t recorded – to digits, ankles, arms and legs – and that an independent inspection regime was needed. “[The port company is] saying, ‘we don’t have any of this information, we’ve never heard of anything like this going on’, and I say, ‘of course you haven’t, why would they?’”

‘Horribly Efficient’ Another major focus in the war of words over the “Tauranga model” has been productivity – that, and the other watchwords of the business side like efficiency, flexibility, profitability and lower costs. On those points, the union doesn’t necessarily disagree that Tauranga rates highly – but it has questions about the price.

16 | The Maritimes | Winter 2012

“It is horribly efficient,” Russell says, “but to the detriment of the workers”. The CTU agrees. It has challenged both the philosophy and draft findings of the government’s Productivity Commission on international freight transport services – findings that have been heralded in the news media as more evidence of the superiority of the Tauranga model. In its submission on the commission’s report, the CTU criticized both its analysis of productivity data and its “singleminded” focus on efficiency and profit. In adopting the narrow focus that it has, the CTU says, the commission: walked away from its ostensible mandate to focus on ‘the wellbeing of New Zealanders’ and has instead allied itself with the most reactionary elements in the business community. The result is more a political document than an economic analysis, and while this may well coincide with the outcomes the present Government seeks, it represents a missed opportunity to establish the Commission as a professionally-detached analytical agency providing genuinely disinterested advice based on economic analysis of international standard. The CTU is particularly scathing about the chapter on employment relations, arguing that it shows “capture” by “extremist anti-union submitters – most notably the stevedoring company ISO”.

Instead of analytical detachment and balance, the CTU says, “the report exhibits only a zealous desire to promote casualization of labour and weaken CTUaffiliated unions”. And however flexible and productive the Tauranga model, it’s clear from the submissions that employers would like to go even further. In its August 2011 submission, the Port of Tauranga Ltd says “inflexible labour practices and difficulties in employerunion relationships” are a significant obstacle to increased efficiency and productivity, noting that “a number of Unions [are] currently pushing the boundaries of the freedom of association principles of the Employment Relations Act”. ISO agreed, telling the commission that “inflexible labour practices and certain union activities” were hampering productivity improvements. ISO is particularly critical of CTUaffiliated unions, accusing them of causing “economic harm and reduced competition”, and urging the Commission to investigate. Of particular interest to workers in Auckland, ISO included in its submission an excerpt from the collective employment agreement with members of the ASU, or Amalgamated Stevedores Union, in which it details some of the conditions enjoyed by workers classed as “regular hourly associates” and “casual associates”. According to the excerpt, a “casual associate” is “an Associate engaged and paid by the hour on an ‘as and when required’ basis pursuant to an individual casual employment agreement for each job with no guarantee as to the period of engagement or of any subsequent engagement(s)”.

Regular Hourly Associates, or RHAs, have a “minimum guarantee or retainer”, but even they can be stood down, albeit “on rare occasions”. ISO says its workers are free to turn down work “to accommodate family life”, and that guidelines on minimum notice and maximum days worked are in place. As far as Jim Gibson is concerned, the push for the kind of lower costs, greater efficiencies, and higher profits sought by port companies represent little more than a race to the bottom. If Auckland has Maersk, Tauranga undercuts them, he says, so Auckland undercuts Tauranga, and so on. “They’re diving headlong into a bottomless pit, where no one is making any money”. For now, port jobs remain sought after, and a lot of wharfies love the work they do. But casualization is having an impact. “You know everybody wants to work on the wharf,” Chris says. “I suppose the money’s a bit better than the New Zealand wage, and it’s easy enough to get in, but you’ll never be anything more than a casual and they have no obligation. “You’re called in for your shift, you do your shift, once you drive out of that gate, you’re not employed by them any more. Even if you could pick up a bit of medical insurance or superannuation – casuals don’t have any rights whatever”. This article first appeared on and is reproduced with the kind permission of the author. References: James Reveley. “Waterfront Labour Reform in New Zealand: Pressures, Processes and Outcomes”. The Journal of Industrial Relations, Vol. 39, No. 3, September 1997. James Reveley. “Contradictory Rights and Unintended Consequences: The Early Impact of the Employment Relations Act on the New Zealand Waterfront”. The Journal of Industrial Relations, Vol. 44, No. 4, December 2002. James Reveley. “From ‘Supplementary Seagulls’ to ‘Cut Price Casuals’: Changing Patterns of Casual Employment on the New Zealand Waterfront 1951-1997. Labour & Industry, Vol. 10, No 1, August 1999.

The Maritimes | Winter 2012 | 17

Shipping Reform passes Australian Parliament

The Maritime Union of New Zealand Wellington Branch contributed to the travel costs of North Island delegates of AFFCO meat workers to travel south for pickets and publicity actions. At Waterside House, Wellington, from left, Maritime Union of New Zealand General Secretary Joe Fleetwood, Meat Workers Union delegate Adrian Harwood from Feilding AFFCO plant and his daughter Claudia, Maritime Union Wellington Branch Secretary Mike Clark, and Meat Workers Union delegate Warren Holland.

Maritime workers’ and meat workers’ solidarity during disputes After nearly 90 days of lockouts and strikes, meat workers employed at Talley’s AFFCO plants have settled their dispute. The union movement, local communities and Iwi rallied in support of the 1000 workers and their families who stood firm in the face of a sustained attack on workers and union rights by an employer with a long track record of union bashing. When the final settlement was signed between the company and the Meat Workers Union the company had only got a couple of the things it was after - random drug tests and some minor flexibility changes - and the Union had kept seniority and the ability to negotiate piece rates and manning levels, all of which were under attack. All workers were put back on the payroll as of Monday 21 May and were paid about $400 to return and back pay on a four per cent pay increase from last January.

In the end the victory was gained by the intervention of Iwi and a legal case that was going very badly for the company. However this was built on the staunchness of the workers throughout the dispute and the solidarity built by other unions nationally and internationally. The role played by the CTU and its affiliates was fundamental in the victory. The Maritime Union contributed to the AFFCO workers’ cause and sent a number of delegations to their picket lines and activities. AFFCO workers also joined pickets and the rally during the Ports of Auckland dispute in support of MUNZ.

The suite of Bills that represent the Australian Labor Government’s Shipping Reform Package have passed the House of Representatives with the support of Greens and Independents with a vote of 71 - 69. Speaking for the Bill the Minister of Transport Anthony Albanese said “When this mob [the Liberals] took over in 1996 we had 55 Australian vessels, now we have less than half. Either we do this today and get it done, or the Australian shipping industry is done. Without reform the Australian shipping industry will disappear “ All of the speakers made mention of the hard work of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin and all the members involved. The Bills represent over 10 years of work by the MUA. Mr Crumlin said this was the biggest reform of the Navigation Act in 100 years. “What Australia has effectively done is to show the way in international shipping, demonstrating that Flag of Convenience shipping can be defeated and that all seafarers - particularly those from developed countries - have a right to work in the industry. “Cabotage is back on the menu for seafarers worldwide. “The support of the ITF was also critical to the political will to enact these wideranging and internationally important reforms, and the ITF is enshrined in this legislation,” said Mr Crumlin. The Reforms will create employment, sustain business opportunities and productivity and build the national interest through an industry that has always been and always will be critical to the quality of Australia’s economy, environment and way of life.

18 | The Maritimes | Winter 2012

NZ shipping policy needs fixing The Maritime Union is calling for a complete overhaul of New Zealand shipping policy to avoid a repeat of the Rena disaster. Maritime Union of New Zealand General Secretary Joe Fleetwood says the main problem is that New Zealand desperately needs a shipping policy. Mr Fleetwood says the jailing of the Rena’s Master and Mate was a case of attacking the symptom but not the disease of deregulated Flag of Convenience shipping. “The approach for the last generation has been for Government to abdicate its responsibility to ensure standards in the maritime industry.” As long as Flag of Convenience shipping was given a “free ride” in New Zealand waters, Rena style incidents were almost guaranteed. “The surprising thing is how long it took for a shipping disaster of this type to happen, not that it did happen.” Mr Fleetwood says the Australian Government this week passed Shipping Reform Package bills to regenerate Australian owned and Australian crewed shipping. New Zealand, by contrast, was still locked into failed deregulation policies from the 1980s.

“Do we need more Rena style disasters to get the same action on merchant shipping in our waters?” Mr Fleetwood says the reintroduction of cabotage (giving priority to New Zealand owned and crewed shipping) was now back on the agenda following the Australian developments. He says that it was extremely disturbing that a maritime trading nation like New Zealand was now completely dependent on global shipping lines and Flag of Convenience vessels. “We need a New Zealand shipping line to ensure our maritime and economic security.” There were a number of other basic changes that could be easily made to rapidly improve safety in the industry, such as the mandatory use of dedicated shipping lanes, which could have prevented the Rena disaster. Greater regulation of shipping was required to monitor fatigue, safety standards, and the condition of vessels. “The crew are under enormous pressure for faster turnarounds from the owners. In this environment, errors and bad judgement will continue.” Increasing the liability on the owners and charterers of vessels was obviously required.

The Maritime Union had also lobbied the Government previous to the Rena Disaster for the provision of a quick response vessel to assist for shipping or offshore oil and gas industry emergencies. Mr Fleetwood says the deregulated and “toxic” competition in the entire maritime industry was responsible for many problems in shipping and ports. He says the recent moves to remove foreign flagged charter vessels from the New Zealand fishing industry were an acknowledgement of the crisis in the wider maritime industry. The changes had vindicated a long running campaign by the Union to get the fishing industry cleaned up. The problems experienced with Flag of Convenience shipping in New Zealand waters had many similarities, and had to be dealt with in the same way. Mr Fleetwood says the Maritime Union welcomed the growing political support for New Zealand shipping from opposition parties.

The Maritimes | Winter 2012 | 19

Blood and salty water The New Zealand fishing industry’s failed experiment with globalization By Victor Billot “Capital,” wrote Karl Marx, “comes [into the world] dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt.” In the case of New Zealand’s fishing industry and its failed 21st century experiment with globalization, that observation might be amended to “dripping with blood and salty water.” After years of shameful inaction, it appears the tide is going out on the deregulated, free market ideology that has encouraged the use of foreign vessels and exploited foreign crews in the New Zealand fishing industry. What went on a few miles over the horizon was of little concern – as long as the profits kept flowing into the coffers of some of New Zealand’s biggest fishing corporates, including major iwi enterprises. These companies engaged in joint ventures that saw them exploit quota under the New Zealand fishing regime by bringing in foreign charter vessels (FCVs) with overseas crews. The deaths, injuries, sinkings, violence, abuse, stand over tactics, theft of wages, and shocking conditions on these vessels over many years have all been documented – and now exposed on the international stage. Since the beginning of 2012, fast moving developments have shaken the industry to its core. Following the conclusion of an official inquiry into the industry in March, in a surprise move the New Zealand Government announced in May that a ban on foreign flagged fishing vessels in New Zealand waters would be phased in over the next few years. But in a classic case of too little, too late, the damage had already been done. As fast as the hapless politicians pumped, the bilge kept rising around them. A top level US State Department Report released in June 2012 has condemned New Zealand industry practices and compared some activities as akin to slavery. This unpalatable truth came hot on the heels of the publication in the US business press of an investigative report into use of FCVs, which has resulted in major US retailers launching probes into their New Zealand sourced fish products and threatening severe repercussions.

Whatever way you look at it, whether your concern is the basic rights of working people, or the public image of New Zealand in our overseas markets, it has been a grim episode in New Zealand’s recent history – at times farcical, and at times tragic.

Flag of Inconvenience: Government pulls plug on foreign charter vessels The big news on 22 May 2012 was the Government announcing it will require reflagging of foreign-owned fishing vessels operating in New Zealand waters “to address labour, safety and fisheries practice concerns.” Foreign charter vessels (FCVs) were out. Or at least, they would be forced to comply fully with New Zealand laws and regulations, at least in theory, by having to reflag under the New Zealand flag. The change of tack by Primary Industries Minister David Carter and Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson took many by surprise. An official inquiry into the industry headed by former Labour Government Minister Paul Swain reported back to the Government early this year. Their report was made public on 1 March 2012 and made fifteen recommendations for the Government to consider in tightening up the industry. The recommendations were based mainly around beefing up the regulations and response of Government agencies such as the Department of Labour, MAF and Maritime New Zealand. On the labour issue, the report favoured requiring the New Zealand charter partners having to obtain vessels on a “demise charter”. The practical effect of this would be the crews would have to be employed by the New Zealand operators on New Zealand employment agreements, as opposed to the current situation where FCV crews are generally employed by overseas labour agencies in their country of origin. David Carter claimed at the time of the inquiry going public that “the issues are not widespread in the New Zealand commercial fishing industry, but they are serious where they occur and need to be addressed in a co-ordinated manner, backed by legislative change.”

However several months later, Carter and Wilkinson ramped up their response by declaring FCVs would be out of the industry – with a few conditions attached, of course. This move went well beyond any recommendations of the Swain report, and the initial response of the Government. In fact, the Inquiry report had specifically stated that it did not recommend reflagging FCVs to New Zealand, instead favouring the “demise charter” approach. Something must have happened in the meantime. Perhaps the growing exposure of the problem in overseas markets and to consumers around the world through damning, high profile media coverage had started to recalibrate the faulty moral compass of our political leaders?

The one that got away: the industry responds Despite the tacit acknowledgement that the FCV situation had turned into a fiasco, the Government offered a four year transition period to soften the blow to the joint venture operators, who comprise 12 out of 27 of the fishing industry companies. The offer was criticized by industry figures, lawyers, political opposition and the Maritime Union as overly generous to the responsible parties. While many FCV operators seemed resigned to the inevitable, there was a certain amount of whinging. Ngati Porou Fisheries general manager Mark Ngata complained in the Gisborne Herald (22 May 2012) the new law was “not realistic.” “The whole reason foreign charters were brought into New Zealand waters in the first place was because New Zealand operators didn’t want to catch the highvolume, low-value species foreign charters do,” says Mr Ngata, who added “New Zealand simply did not have the workforce at present” to catch its own fish. (Although it may be noted that New Zealand does, of course, have a very high number of young people with no jobs, Gisborne being one area badly affected.) Mr Ngata’s sentiments notwithstanding, iwi are quickly coming to terms with the new arrangement.

20 | The Maritimes | Winter 2012

On 7 June, Radio New Zealand reported North island iwi were talking about buying and operating their own fishing vessel. The Iwi Collective Partnership (ICP) made up of 12 North Island iwi (including Ngati Porou) currently pool their quota and lease it to Sanford, which operates four FCVs. ICP manager Maru Samuels said that his organization must “focus on creating an interest in fishing careers by developing training and scholarship programmes within the seafood industry.” The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions Vice President Maori Syd Keepa earlier told Radio New Zealand (23 May 2012) the new regulations will benefit Maori and iwi needed to start planning now. Because chartering foreign vessels will now be more expensive, iwi may hire their own crews, and employ Maori who are currently jobless, he said. Once again, New Zealand has been a “world leader” – in opening ourselves up to the worst practices of deregulated global enterprise, with entirely predictable outcomes and wasted years in which the situation was allowed to fester. Most other countries don’t permit the use of foreign flagged vessels in their fishing industry, as even David Carter acknowledged. (The exceptions are apparently Namibia and Brazil.) The Maritime Union welcomed the move to reflag vessels, but said the four year transition period announced was overly generous. Maritime Union of New Zealand General Secretary Joe Fleetwood says he hoped that no exemptions will be given at the end of the four year period to any foreign flagged vessels, and that immediate action was still required. “Given the string of fishery breaches, labour abuses and harm to crew members experienced in recent years, we must ensure that the industry is policed over the transition period.” The union also criticized plans to contract out the fishing observers for fishing vessels. “We need more supervision and enforcement on the ships fishing our waters, not less. Outsourcing this role may lead to observers being paid by the industry on a ‘go on, stay on’ basis like the foreign crews are. It won’t work – contracted out observers will simply become like many of the other workers out there on the ships – bullied and not able to do their job properly.” The Maritime Union through its affiliation to the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) has assisted many foreign crew members in distress who have been victims of unethical and sometimes illegal practices.

Potentially lethal: a crew member from a foreign charter fishing vessel wears a plastic bag over his head as makeshift goggles in this disturbing photo taken by a MUNZ member at the Port of Bluff in 2010

The London-based Secretary of the ITF fisheries section Jon Whitlow described the reflagging move as “welcome, right and overdue. Scandal has followed scandal in this area in recent years, including grave instances of crew abuse.”

High seas slavery goes up the food chain

However, it seems that for the Government, each announcement they take to show they have the situation in hand is overshadowed by a tidal wave of bad publicity. The release of the Swain inquiry in March managed to coincide with the major US magazine BusinessWeek running an indepth expose of the entire New Zealand FCV industry entitled “Fishing as Slaves on the High Seas.” US journalist E Ben Skinner reviewed the whole operation – starting from the crew members, and the labour hire agencies, and moving back through the New Zealand joint venture operators and bureaucrats. He went all the way up the supply chain to US retailers who purchased the final product – and who were naturally horrified that they might be implicated in some consumer backlash. Skinner tracked down crew member Yusril from the FCV Melilla 203 at his home village in Indonesia. Melilla 203 was a frequent visitor to New Zealand ports and I’d seen it myself alongside the wharf in Dunedin. Together with its sister vessel Melilla 201,

it had been identified publicly by the Maritime Union in the media as far back as 2005 after ship jumping and complaints about the treatment of crew. The majority of the crew, including Yusril, walked off the vessel in Lyttelton in 2011 after ongoing problems aboard including harassment and abuse. When they returned home, according to Skinner, their Indonesian manning agency coerced most of the group into signing documents “waiving their claims to redress for human rights violations, in exchange for their originally stipulated payments of between $500 to $1,000.” Skinner followed up with the Indonesian manning agency, who got a security guard to take him off the premises. Sadly, Yusril, the crew member who had gone public in the interview, and who had resisted signing away his rights, was later forced to go into hiding, in a blatant example of the kind of stand over tactics experienced by crews. Michael Field of the Sunday Star Times (26 February 2012) wrote that Ben Skinner, back in Boston, received a text message from Yusril: “strangers at my house, leaving with my family, very scared, please help.” Yusril was taken with his family to a safe house with the help of the US Embassy, where his host told Field in a Skype interview the “strangers” were agents of FCV labour hire company PT Indah Megah Sari (IMS). The agents had demanded Yusril withdraw the statements he had made to Skinner

[continues next page]

The Maritimes | Winter 2012 | 21

However, everything was sweet, according to New Zealand business leaders. Fishery executives that Skinner spoke to in New Zealand, like Sanford CEO Eric Barratt or United Fisheries Andrew Kotzikas dismissed crew problems as minor, nonexistent or always due to someone else – despite their FCVs being identified by Skinner as problem cases. Kotzikas cynically described New Zealand labour laws as “beautiful stuff” that didn’t have much relevance with what went on offshore. However this dismissive approach did not wash with the corporate customers of the fishing operators. The largest importer of New Zealand fish into the United States, Mazzetta Corp, wasn’t quite so casual, and sent a shot across the bows of their old friends in Kiwiland after finding out they were being implicated. “Leadership requires taking responsibility, and in light of this information changes must be made for Mazzetta Company to continue its relationship with Sanford,” CEO Tom Mazzetta said. The Sunday Star Times reported in their 26 February “whistle blower” story that Mazzetta was a $510 million Chicago operation that had pioneered orange roughy fishing with Sanford. Mazzetta had told Sanford’s board “to say that I am extremely disappointed would be an understatement”. What has to be remembered here of course is the highly placed connections of New Zealand’s big fishing players – the Sanford board includes chairman Jeff Todd and board member and National Party president Peter Goodfellow. “[Allegations] of this nature are simply unacceptable and warrant revision of Sanford’s oversight to continue in our existing relationship,” Mazetta said. Sanford said there were no labour issues and it had observers on FCVs and would be “in on-going discussions” with Mazzetta, according to the SST report. In turn, the US corporates are facing pressure on their own territory. The USA imports an estimated $14.7 billion worth of fish annually and “regulators are beginning to pay attention to the conditions under which that food is caught,” says Skinner. A new law in California introduced at the start of 2012 requires that retailers with over $100 million in global sales publicly disclose their efforts to monitor and combat slavery in their supply chains. The law covers some 3,200 corporations that do business in the state, including several that trade in seafood.

Contact by Skinner with various US retailers and producers had started alarm bells ringing. New Zealand FCV operator Sanford is also a supplier to US firm High Liner, which in turn supplies to major retailers such as Safeway and Walmart. High Liner CEO Henry Demone told Skinner that he “abhorred” slavery and labour abuse, and that his company “tries very hard to do the right thing.” “In the case you’re talking about, we bought from a company whose labor practices in the [processing] plant were fine. We audited that. We didn’t audit the fishing vessels. But we relied upon a well-known New Zealand-based company and their assurance of 100% observer coverage.” Spokespeople for Safeway and Walmart pledged swift investigations, after being alerted to the issue by Skinner. “As with all of our suppliers, we have a process underway to obtain documentation that [High Liner is] complying with the laws regarding human trafficking and slavery, and that [they are] reviewing their supply chain to insure compliance,” said Brian Dowling, Safeway’s vice president of public affairs, on February 17. “We have not yet received certification from High Liner. However, we are following up with them immediately and asking that they provide us with certification.”

The Hilary Clinton Connection

The Business Week report was bad enough for New Zealand, detailing an unforgiving picture of New Zealand’s complicity in serious abuses of basic human rights, and angry and concerned customers in our largest export markets. But worse was to come. In the latest embarrassment, the USA State Department criticised New Zealand for being a destination country for forced labour in their 2012 Annual Report on Human Trafficking. (One of the authors of the report, Ambassador at Large Luis cdeBaca, had visited New Zealand last year, where he met with Maritime Union officials, amongst others, to specifically look into fishing industry labour issues.) The high profile report, which looks at all nations, was released 20 June 2012 in Washington, D.C, by Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. Alongside with what is described as smaller scale human trafficking in the sex industry, the report notes “Foreign men, largely from Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand, are subjected to conditions of forced labor, including debt bondage, aboard foreign-flagged fishing vessels in New Zealand waters.”

The report notes that “alleged conditions experienced by workers on these boats – most of which are Republic of Korea (South Korea)-flagged – include confiscation of passports, imposition of significant debts, physical violence, mental abuse, and excessive hours of work.” (There was also reference to ‘Asian and Pacific Islander’ migrants working in agriculture who are “forced to work in conditions different from what was stipulated in their contracts.”) The report also states some foreign workers in New Zealand report being charged excessive – and escalating – recruitment fees, experiencing unjustified salary deductions and restrictions on their movement, having their passports confiscated and contracts altered, or being subjected to a change in working conditions without their permission. According to the US State Department, “these are all indicators of human trafficking.” (To make it perfectly clear what they are talking about, human trafficking is “modern day slavery.”) The Report says that while New Zealand complies with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, the New Zealand Government “made no convictions or prosecutions under the country’s trafficking legislation . . . [and] did not formally identify any persons as trafficking victims during the year.” A full page graphic in the report’s introduction (page 20), featured an advertisement from the 5 June 2007 edition of the Otago Daily Times which it compared to those from United States newspapers at the height of slavery in the nineteenth century. The advertisement offered a $1000 bounty for information leading to the whereabouts of Kismo Pakistan, an Indonesian fisherman who jumped ship from F.V. Oyang 70 while at port in Dunedin. It appears Mr Pakistan, whose whereabouts remains unknown, had good reasons to leave this ship. The Oyang 70 later sank in dubious circumstances 740km off the coast of Dunedin, with the loss of six lives of foreign crew members. The State Department report compared the advertisement with 18th and 19th century American slave owners who placed similar advertisements in newspapers, offering up to $200 for the return of runaway slaves. The report said ads such as the one in the ODT showed the practice continued today. Maritime Union of New Zealand General Secretary Joe Fleetwood congratulated the hard hitting nature of the report, saying it vindicated the Union stance that the deregulated fishing industry and exploitation of overseas labour was a stain on New Zealand’s reputation.

22 | The Maritimes | Winter 2012

Fleetwood says the damage to New Zealand’s global reputation was hard to quantify. “The blame must be put at the foot of the cowboy operators in the industry, and successive Governments who soft pedalled the issue and only took belated action when forced to. The lesson being they can’t afford to sweep these dirty little secrets under the carpet anymore.”

Stuck in Traffik In another sign of the impact of the FCV scandal, a New Zealand arm of the global anti-slavery activist group Stop the Traffik was launched in June 2012, co-ordinated by the Salvation Army. Steering committee member and coauthor of a major investigation into labour and human rights abuses on FCV’s Dr Christina Stringer says the US State Department Report was consistent with the research carried out by herself and Glenn Simmons. “It is interesting the report notes that while prosecutions are underway for environmental offences aboard Korean fishing vessels, to date there have been no convictions or prosecutions under New Zealand’s trafficking legislation.” Dr Stringer says the State Department report highlights that New Zealand lacks a comprehensive anti-trafficking law. Stop the Traffik Aotearoa’s main objectives are described as “highlighting trafficking labour exploitation and abuse in the supply chains of products manufactured overseas and sold in New Zealand, and trafficking and related labour and human rights abuses occurring in New Zealand territory.”

Modern day slavery: This advertisement appeared in the Otago Daily Times on 5 June 2007. The Maritime Union criticized its publication at the time. Now the ad has resurfaced after being compared to slave-era publications by the United States State Department.

Conclusion: The fish starts to rot from the head (ancient proverb) One of the great conceits of corporate globalization is how the international free market delivers the benefits of Western capitalism and liberal democracy to the so-called “developing world.” As we have seen in the case of the fishing industry, what actually happens is the reverse process. A developed nation like New Zealand allows global “worst practice” to become established in a key industry. There are no winners of course, except the fly by night operators in the industry, with even the corporates who turn a blind eye to their “subcontractors” activities putting their business in jeopardy around the world. It’s only when the situation gets so outrageous that it can’t be contained, that we seem to start getting worried about the effect on New Zealand’s “reputation.”

Our reputation, after all, is more important than the foreign workers who are exploited and abused, and often maimed or killed on the job, to secure bigger profits. There are two very basic points that need to be made about where the industry goes from here. The first is that New Zealand workers are entitled to decent jobs in a highly profitable New Zealand industry that is based entirely on New Zealand resources. The second is that if overseas crews are to be used, they must be given the full protection of New Zealand law, firstly as a basic principle of human rights and international solidarity, and secondly as a pragmatic strategy to stop them being exploited as a cheap alternate labour force. The new law changes may help with the second point. Whether they will help with the first point is doubtful. The failed experiment in globalized labour in the New Zealand fishing industry is dead in the water for now, it seems. But the driving forces behind this model of globalized capitalism, with its superexploitation of vulnerable cross-border casualized labour, are becoming stronger and more pronounced. References 2012 New Zealand Ministerial Inquiry into FCVs Ministerial+Inquiry+into+Foreign+Charter+ Vessels/default.htm 2012 US State Department Report on Human Trafficking index.htm Ben E Skinner’s report in BusinessWeek online global/fishing-as-slaves-on-the-highseas-02202012.html ITF “Catcher to Counter” campaign New Zealand section of Stop the Traffik campaign

Late notice

Guy Henderson’s long-awaited documentary on the New Zealand fishing industry and the use of foreign charter vessels, now called The Price of Fish, will screen on TV3 in the Inside New Zealand documentary series on Thursday August 3.

The Maritimes | Winter 2012 | 23

Dunedin, New Zealand

Tokyo, Japan

Solidarity Unlimited Scenes from around the world of workers supporting the struggle of the Maritime Union of New Zealand at Ports of Auckland, 2012. More images at groups/saveourport ITF Global President Paddy Crumlin speaking, Ports of Auckland picket

MUA Townsville Branch Australia

24 | The Maritimes | Winter 2012

ILWU Canada

ILWU Secretary Treasurer William E Adams (centre) with ILWU officials visiting the New Zealand Embassy, Washington, USA

DP World, Port Botany, Australia

MUA veterans at New Zealand consulate, Sydney

The Maritimes | Winter 2012 | 25

ITF Inspectors Meeting

ILWU Local 63 Marine Clerks Association California, USA

MUNZ Local 13 picket line haka

ILWU, Los Angeles, USA

26 | The Maritimes | Winter 2012

ITF Fair Practices Committee

ILWU, Tacoma, Washington, USA

MUA rally at New Zealand consulate in Sydney

The Maritimes | Winter 2012 | 27

Meatworkers Union and supporters join Ports of Auckland Picket


28 | The Maritimes | Winter 2012

Quebec, Canada

Manila, Philippines


ILWU Intl. Vice President (Mainland) Ray Familathe, Auckland Rally


The Maritimes | Winter 2012 | 29

Wellington By Mike Clark and John Whiting

National Government attacks on workers

As we approach the half way mark of 2012 the workers of this country face further attacks from a Government which is hell bent on eroding the wages and conditions of people trying to earn a liveable wage to support their families. Hard on the heels of major industrial upheaval in the country including our own Ports of Auckland dispute, the current Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson has announced a package of measures which will include: • a return to the original position in the Employment Relations Act where the duty of good faith does not require the parties to conclude a collective agreement, thus allowing employers to opt out of multiemployer bargaining • Partial pay reduction in cases of partial strike action and • Removing the 30 day bill that forces nonunion members to take union terms and conditions, • in addition to these policies parties will be required to provide notice of a strike or lockout which according to the Government will fix the problem where there are different time frames for unions and employers to initiate collective bargaining. Ms. Wilkinson also stated that the changes would improve “fairness” and “flexibility” in the law that will improve a work-life balance, an increase in productivity and also create higher paying jobs for New Zealanders. These changes were approved by Cabinet on 14 May and are expected to be before Parliament later in the year. CTU President Helen Kelly was damning in her reply saying “the government has a responsibility to promote collective bargaining instead of undermining it as they know this will further reduce pay and conditions for New Zealand workers.”

Branch amalgamation

Earlier this year the final steps in the Wellington branch amalgamation of the Seafarers and Watersiders were completed. The Wellington Branch now operates as a single identity with all finances and assets combined and administered by the joint secretaries. As the Branch is now entering into an election we hope to have joint members from both sectors elected to the Executive so we then have the ability to ensure that all executive members are familiar with both seafaring and stevedoring operations.

Both sectors are working hard in securing on going training and employment opportunities for our members.

Offshore industry

The offshore operations in New Zealand are slowly winding down as the winter months approach as is to be expected, with no further work forecast until the spring. On the Australian side most of our members have been terminated as more Australian Seafarers come on line. Mike Clark will be heading to West Australia in June to talk to the MUA and the Offshore Companies in a bid to secure work for our members. We will be looking to get some form of commitment so we have some form of fixed term contract, not to be picked up for the odd trip here and there. On another positive note the General Secretary Joe Fleetwood has been lobbying the Government over deep sea mineral mining which we believe will provide opportunities for our members in the not too distant future. The Offshore Alliance which include the MUA and the AWU (Australian Workers’ Union) from Australia, and EPMU and MUNZ from New Zealand, will be meeting in mid July to discuss further opportunities in the South Pacific for the oil and gas industry, and to develop health and safety policies and best world practice industry guide lines for deep water drilling. Shell New Zealand have taken over a joint venture operation in the Great South Basin which covers an area of 33,500 square kilometres stretching south of Dunedin and east of Invercargill and Stewart Island. Shell has stated that they would commit to staff based in Dunedin or Invercargill until it was decided if the field was economically viable to bring a rig to NZ to drill a single well. Cost-wise this is in the vicinity of $200 million dollars, and the data which was collected recently by the vessel Polarcus Alima would have to be studied. The Chairman of the Shell group of companies in New Zealand Rob Jaeger said that a possible time frame to drill a test well could well be in the summer of 2014/15, and stated “at the end of the day it is about being economically developable”.


KiwiRail have been dominating the Wellington Branch’s workload with a number of unnecessary disciplinary actions against our members. More disturbing is the losses being incurred by the company, hence they have been asking our union to make concessions regarding terms and conditions, which we believe to be totally unacceptable. The other two unions have been advised as well of the need for concessions and they also are currently working through the issues. There are as we see it a number of contributing factors in this downturn, one being that tourists just aren’t using the service, freight is down, freight rates are static but also the competition from the other Cook Strait operator is biting into KiwiRail business. The Wellington Executive has met to discuss the situation as more information comes to hand regarding the financial status of the company, and also to have a chance to discuss the situation with the other two unions as they are currently in Collective Agreement negotiations which have been underway for several months.


On the Wellington Waterfront recent developments have included a mediation hearing that was a requirement of the Employment Court when the injunction was imposed requiring us to work the Maersk Aberdeen in early March during the Ports of Auckland dispute. The hearing was to review the circumstances relating to the injunction hearing and issues regarding costs. The latest news from Maersk is not of the good variety. They are ceasing their TransTasman Star service which takes out a ship call per week for Wellington. Apparently, Maersk intend to charter slots on the MSC / ANL Trans Tasman service. This development will have a downward effect on our members’ available hours at CentrePort. No doubt watch this space.

Wellington Branch 2012 Election results President: Alan Windsor Vice President: Jim King Secretary: Mike Clark Assistant Secretary: John Whiting Executive Committee: Garry Carter Bradley Clifford Marian Lesslie Barry Millington Tony Mowbray Mike Shakespeare Glen Wyllie Woman’s Officer: Tania Kahui

30 | The Maritimes | Winter 2012

MUA National Conference Report from Wellington rank and file

Contributions from Wellington Branch delegates Bradley Clifford MUNZ272 and Marian Lesslie MUNZ918 To be part of the Delegation from Wellington, along with Auckland and Bluff delegates, was a much appreciated opportunity. On Sunday 26 February our group all attended both the Women’s, Youth and Indigenous Committee to which our delegates were Marian Lesslie and Tania Kahui (see separate report), and the Mining and Maritime International Committee, where MUNZ officials Joe Fleetwood and Garry Parsloe gave indepth reports on the Ports of Auckland dispute. Both these committees endorsed full support for the MUNZ members in Auckland.


Monday saw the opening of the MUA National Conference 2012 at the Sydney Convention Centre at Darling Harbour. The Conference also marked the 140th anniversary of the establishment of Maritime Unionism in Australia. Delegates from all round Australia were joined by many International colleagues to share both our common challenges and the ideas and tactics to confront them. The traditional opening was performed by dance theatre group “Descendance” of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. MUA General Secretary and ITF President Paddy Crumlin gave the opening speech highlighting international co-operation and the importance of Unionising the whole transport chain. Following this, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) Sharan Burrow reported on key priorities in the Global Union’s agenda, especially sustainable development in the third world. Next up was General Secretary of the ITF David Cockcroft. He addressed the state of transport Unionism and the way forward, particularly the need to work with other Union federations to combat the evils of

fake self employment, contracting out and outsourcing of full time jobs. In the lunch break a silent auction to raise money for the Tas Bull Memorial Aid Fund was started. By the end of the conference the sum of $48,400 was raised. The afternoon session saw panel discussions, the first made up of senior Australian Union Secretaries, which dealt with the movement’s experiences with the Labor Government since 2007 and stressed the need to keep the pressure on. The second panel comprised mainly international officials and addressed issues around Stevedoring, including automation, training, and guest workers. Niek Stam from FNV talked about the automation that is happening in ports in the Netherlands. Vice President of the All Japan Dockworkers Union Gano Yoshikazu talked about the earthquake and tsunami and how it affected the union workers, particularly in regard to radiation. International President of the ILWU Bob McEllrath described how the ILWU were succeeding in gaining coverage at the Longview greenfields grain terminal operation. Tuesday afternoon had a panel on Shipping and Seafarers including reclaiming Trade Union power and influence in shipping and defending and extending cabotage.


MUA National Deputy Secretary Mick Doleman gave an industrial and financial report, and spoke about the White Ribbon campaign against domestic violence and the great work the MUA is doing there. MUA Assistant National Secretary Ian Bray gave a report on growth, campaigns and training. MUA Assistant National Secretary Warren Smith gave a report on organizing strategy, and moving forward with waterfront safety and training and reclaiming safety on the job though training. He talked on Blue Water shipping and training.

This was followed by a panel session on Shipping and Seafarers. RMT National Secretary Steve Todd from the UK talked on the importance of having international meetings, how seafarers should get paid the same as the person they work alongside. Indonesian seafarers representative Hanafi Rustandi stated the importance of Australian seafarers and how they must work on ships going from Australia to Japan. Australian ITF co-ordinator Dean Summers gave a talk on the Flag of Convenience campaign, protecting cabotage and some of the things the ITF have to deal with. The last speaker was Norwegian Seafarers Union national secretary Jacqueline Smith who spoke on the difference in wages for a seafarer in Norway and how a shore based job is paid more. There has been a huge drop in seafarers in the last few years. The day ended with the resolutions committee meeting.


Wednesday’s activities included presentations from the Credit Union and the Maritime Superannuation report. MUNZ National President Garry Parsloe gave an in-depth report on what was happening at the Ports of Auckland. There was a resolution from the conference that what ever it takes they would be there to give support in any way, and that they fully supported MUNZ in this fight. The next session was a panel discussion on Australian shipping reform and regional campaigning. MUNZ General Secretary Joe Fleetwood was part of this panel. The main things that came out of this session was how MUA and other unions can help out smaller or poorer countries so they can in the end help themselves out. Training was part of this.

[continued next page]

The Maritimes | Winter 2012 | 31

MUA National Womens, Youth and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander conference

[continued from previous page]

Alex Rawali of the Papua Maritime and Transport Union stated how important it is for people to have fair and good working conditions, and that it is everyone’s right to join a union, and the importance of international support in achieving this. The next panel session was building an international freight forwarding campaign. Wednesday evening was a most enjoyable special occasion, the MUA 140th anniversary Conference dinner.


By Marian Lesslie MUNZ918 On behalf of the Wellington branch, Tania Kahui and I attended the Maritime Union of Australia national women, youth and Aboriginal and Torres Islander conference in Sydney on Sunday 26 February. This was the first time that all three groups have come together and had a conference. I enjoyed it as we got a good overview of what is going on with the three groups. MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin opened the conference by talking about the Aboriginal people and culture, and how the MUA are fighting for justice for the Aboriginal people. Paddy also talked about bullying, racism and sexism in the workplace, and how the MUA are committed to creating and maintaining a working environment of dignity and mutual respect. Any form of harassment or abuse from anyone should not be tolerated.


The first panel session was MUA women and ITF women. In this session we covered what women face in the workplace. There was also a short video on MUA women and how they see themselves in their union. MUNZ told the conference that we would like to work more closely with MUA on their work here as it would be a great way to help each other out and get ideas from each other, and how important it is to have international support.


The next session was the youth panel. Same of the issues facing the youth are they often don’t know what a union is or what it does. They believe what they hear from the media or perhaps don’t see good behaviour from older members.

In 20 years, without youth there will be no union. One of the big things to came out of this session was the need to proactively train the youth in the union movement, including leadership, delegate training, talking about their issues.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Session 3 of the day was the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander panel. There was a short video on the history of these people in the MUA. One of the big things to come out of this session was the need for cultural awareness and training. The MUA have set up an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander committee within the union. There was also a short report on domestic violence and how MUA are involved in the White Ribbon campaign against domestic violence.

International Perspective

I was asked to give a talk on the Ports of Auckland dispute. This was great timing as things were starting to heat up in Auckland. I gave the conference an overview of what was going on, including how the women and workers’ families were getting involved. Everyone at the conference knew that was going on but didn’t know that things had got to the point that they had. The Conference gave a commitment of full support and would help out any way they could. I let the conference know that people could sign our petition either on line or at the conference, where we had some hard copies. Thanks to all who signed it. The last part of the day was a report from the ITF youth by Paul McAleer.

Thursday continued with panels discussing the building of Union power and influence through our diversity, that included contributions from veterans, women, youth and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. An international delegate session on worker solidarity included reports on the many current disputes and government actions against workers, including Boron, Rio Tinto and of course Ports of Auckland. Brigitta Pass of Dutch union FNV talked on the fight the truckies have and the long hours of work, and the problems that come with that. The last speaker on this panel was General Secretary of the RMT in the UK Bob Crow who gave a really great speech on unions in the UK. Bob is passionate when it comes to things so close to his heart and you hear it when he talks. On Thursday afternoon, together with many other delegates, we joined a protest rally outside the Sydney office of multinational financial giant Aegon Corporation. We were there in solidarity with our comrades from the Dutch Port Workers Union, FNV Bondgenoten, who are demanding the return of $770 million in pension funds acquired by Aegon in a buyout of Optas, the company which held the monies. Aegon are refusing to release these funds. This is another sad saga of today’s big money movers operating with no regard for the damage done to individuals, of whom many are workers and pensioners.


Friday morning was the final session of conference and included many resolutions setting the MUA course for the immediate future and also the draw of the Tas Bull Silent Auction and presentations and closing addresses. In conclusion, attending this conference gave us a chance to learn and absorb from a great gathering of Union people, and also to mix and mingle with our Australian and International comrades. Once again thanks to Wellington Branch for the opportunity to be part of it.

32 | The Maritimes | Winter 2012

At the May 2012 Maritime Union of New Zealand National Executive meeting, Waterside House, Wellington, New Zealand, from left to right are Ben George (delegate, Port Chalmers Dunedin Branch), Tristan Ormsby (delegate, Lyttelton branch), Dave Thorpe (Observer, Lyttelton), Bradley Clifford (Observer, Wellington Branch), Andrew Parker (Observer, Wellington Branch)

Port Chalmers Dunedin By Ben George

Retired members’ shout

Recently a number of long serving members of our branch have taken the opportunity to exit the industry to enjoy the fruits of their labour. This has marked the end of an era. Six of the members who left took with them over 140 years service combined. In honour of these outstanding examples to us all, a members’ shout was held in the WIC building in Port Chalmers on Friday 27 April. The unpredictable nature of shipping resulted in many of our members having to work a vessel. Despite this, a good turn out of veterans, retired and current members were able to attend and the evening was a success. Retiring members were recognised with a presentation by Branch Secretary Phil Adams and Branch President Ben George. Bruce Malcolm also received life membership to MUNZ for his services to the union.

Marine Services

Two areas of the Marine services division in Port Chalmers have been under review. 1. Entitlements of Tug and General Deckhands if working on their RDO. 2. Entitlements for General Deckhands’ leave when working various rosters. We believe both of these issues are close to resolution pending acceptance of the affected parties.

Lost Time Injury

Recently it seems there is an obsession with keeping LTI’s within the Terminal to an absolute minimum. The motivation for this is not entirely clear but one could hazard a guess and the reasons for this could be linked to managers KPI’s and bonuses. The result is that our members are being put in a position of being encouraged to return to work, albeit on light duties before they are ready. We need to monitor this situation closely and collectively to ensure this is not happening, as anyone who is not fit to work in this extremely hazardous environment is a danger not only to themselves but to others as well.

Health and Safety

Health and Safety is a hot topic for all employers at the moment in light of what has happened with the Pike River Mine disaster. Local 10 is supporting the Port Company in their initiatives to improve Health and Safety across all areas of the business but need to be mindful that this doesn’t result in rules for some and not for others, or becomes a tool for employers to isolate and crucify employees.

Local Elections

Local elections are underway at present with nominations closed and returning officers currently conducting voting for positions where required. President – Ben George (Elected unopposed) Vice President – Stu Crawford (Elected unopposed) Secretary/Treasurer – Phil Adams (Elected unopposed) Trustees (2 required) G Hutton (Elected) R Crawford (Elected)

Executive: Paul Napier, Tim Camp, Nic Abernethy, Mark Middleditch, Stephen Smith

Vega Mars

There were a number of safety issues with the ship’s gear on the Vega Mars that were detected by our guys working for Southern Cross Stevedores and remedied prior to leaving. These members need to be commended for the work they have done here and there is concern that the issues were not addressed earlier at previous ports.


Both the RMTU and MUNZ have jointly initiated bargaining with the Port Company and negotiations are currently underway.

Random drug and alcohol testing

Random Drug and Alcohol testing has been in place on all Port Otago controlled sites. I am pleased to report that despite the company claims of a culture of drug and alcohol problems with its staff there have been only a very small number of positive tests for drugs triggered by proscribed medicines. The random aspects of the testing appear to be satisfactory at a glance as there are some who have been tested more than once already which is truly random.

Passing of a member

The branch is deeply saddened to report the passing of a long term member Colin Scoles. Colin passed unexpectedly on Saturday 12 May in the early hours of the morning. Colin was a well respected member and colleague and will be missed by all that knew him. Our condolences go out to his family and friends. The Maritimes | Winter 2012 | 33

Nelson By Bill Lewis MUNZ 922 The Nelson members joined a rally to support the locked out AFFCO meat workers who were fighting to renew their collective agreement. A good measure of public support was seen on the march up the main street with families getting in behind the issue. Our branch donated $1000 towards their plight and in solidarity with their struggle. Good union leadership from the unions involved in particular the CTU. The political climate is one of constant onslaught against organised labour by this government who have put obstacles in the way for employees to attain better wages and conditions. Employers are opting out of contract negotiations and using lock out notices to starve workers into submission under the guise of wanting a modern and flexible contract, which means reduced wages and conditions that workers cannot accept. All working people need to take this on board and back up the most vulnerable and the most exploited and cannot afford to lose income when contract negotiations break down owing to impossible demands made by the employer. New Zealand is in a permanent state of economic emergency with near austerity measures. 90% of the workers are bearing the pain and no relief in sight. More anti-worker legislation is in the pipeline by this Government, such as employers being able to opt out of multi-employer contracts and not being compelled to conclude a collective contract.

Maritime Union members supporting AFFCO workers’ rally and march in Nelson, May 2012

Bluff By Harry Holland

Recent events

Our cargo through the Port has slowed a little with the logs tapering off, but in saying that we have recently done three logs ships straight after each other. The South Port Agreement has been signed as a two year deal with the help of General Secretary Joe Fleetwood, thanks Joe. Both Ray and myself attended the MUA Conference in Sydney in February 2012 which was again of great interest and very worthwhile attending. From there we returned to Auckland and spent three days on the picket line at Ports of Auckland with our Brothers and Comrades which was a real pleasure to help with. On returning home from Auckland we organised a sack of oysters and four delegates to return to Auckland with the oysters on 10 March for the big rally and march. Congratulations to the team at Auckland for the way they handled and conducted themselves during this trying time – well done from the Bluff.


Speaking of oysters, Bluff will be struggling to run the Interport Tournament for 2013 as the cost of the boat hire for fishing is way over the top. We will be looking at running a raffle to try and help pay for these boats, so if your port can offer any help we would be very happy. Our boys came home from this years Interport tournament and spoke very highly of the tournament. Well done to all involved.

Canadian guests

Bluff branch hosted the two Canadian delegates from the United Steelworkers (USW), Guy Farrell and Marc Matais. These two unionists were spreading the word about what their employer the multinational corporation Rio Tinto did to their members in Alma, Canada, in order to attack wages and conditions and secure jobs through contracting out.


At SouthPort we have had two disciplinary issues to deal with and are still working on them which has been a long battle. SouthPort has also started its Drug testing campaign. Our membership is still growing slowly. Smelter production has dropped by 15% which is caused by the price of electricity. The plant has shut down number 4 pot line, for how long who knows. We have had the boys from New Plymouth down here helping out. Thanks again guys you are great ambassadors for your port.

Chinese vessels

We are having some major problems with new Chinese ships coming in here with gear problems. The Yangtze Dignity and Pacific Legend both had major gear faults. These ships are not more than 18 months old and the gear is in a sad state. On the Pacific Legend the topping lift wire parted with a empty bin on it. Yangtze Dignity only two cranes out of four were working. This is something we have to be very aware of when dealing with Chinese ships. We spoke to the surveyor and he informed me that it was an ongoing problem with these new ships.

34 | The Maritimes | Winter 2012

New Plymouth By Tansley Ratapu Activity around Port Taranaki has been steady. Logging and bulk cargoes continue with their frequent visits to our port, the increase in loading logs and the discharge of fertilisers and animal feeds making up for the substantial loss and reduction of containerised activity – once thriving container areas have now been replaced by logs. Currently three container ships still coming into the port, Spirit of Resolution, Merlour Sky and the ER Brisbane, which has replaced the Contin Harmony. There is also the occasional visit by the MSC Monica.

Project Cargoes

Project Cargoes saw the unloading of luxury yachts aboard the BBC Scotland in early January of 2012 and in mid-February on the MCP Linz the unloading of an onshore rig from China. Coal into the Port has been ongoing, with the vessel Anatoki making deliveries to the pair of established Coal storage sheds at the Port where Bathurst Resources Ltd have invested $1.5m thus far. Actual shipments for export may not occur until this December.

Cruise liners

A rarity to our Port was the day visit by the cruise liner MS Volendan on 27 December 2011, bound for Alaska. More than 1400 passengers and some parts of 600 crew left the vessel once it docked to sample the sights and delights of New Plymouth and the greater Taranaki region. I hope there are many more trips made by these liners and luxury ships, after all they make good business and income for our region.

Greenpeace protest

On Friday 24 February, illegal entry was made by seven Greenpeace activists, who breached port security at the front gate, then accessed their way to the top of the drill ship Noble Discover and its drilling derrick. Actress Lucy Lawless best known for her television series Xena the Warrior Princess, was amongst the activists who boarded the vessel. Their aim was to keep the drill rig in Port for as long as they could and delay its journey to the Chukchi Sea in Alaska. They succeeded in their endeavour by a day, the Noble Discover eventually sailed on Tuesday 28 February after the protesters disembarked from the rig voluntarily on the Monday.

Ports of Auckland dispute

During the Ports of Auckland disputes New Plymouth branch members were in support of our comrades in Auckland and their plan to strike. A group of us went through to Auckland to the first 24 hour planned strike on 1 December 2011 to picket and show our solidarity and support for our comrades. We would also like to thank those comrades for their hospitality and offers of accommodation, cheers it was very much appreciated. On 17–19 February 2012, several members travelled to Auckland to show their support and solidarity and to get updated on dispute information. On 10 March 2012 New Plymouth branch members returned and were present with all our national branches at the rally and march, along with international supporters. Marching from Britomart to the Ports of Auckland front gate with around 6000 supporters, it was a great day to remember and to be a part of. The march was also supported by Talleys AFFCO workers, who have been going through their own dispute. All New Plymouth branch members unanimously agreed to a donation towards the fund of the AFFCO workers. Stay strong comrades.

Stopwork meeting

Our annual stop work meeting was held on 9 May 2012, with wage negotiations the main priority. Our productions manager agreed to our terms, with a 4% pay rise to occur over 2 years, 2% 2012 and 2% 2013. All parties agreed and are satisfactory.

Oil and Gas

Oil and Gas continues to boom in Taranaki with the announcement in late January that Todd Energy has signed a contract with Methanex NZ to supply gas from its Mangahewa field (north east of Waitara) to their Motonui Plant in a binding 10 year plan. Not only will this generate economic wealth and jobs in the area, Port Taranaki will benefit as a consequence of the increase in the levels of liquids export volume. All export trade will be through the Port, boosting revenues, and hopefully Stevedores and Seafarers bank books.

Out of port transfers

Since my last report we have had only one out of port trip to our favourite destination of Bluff. It must have been oyster season because there was no accommodation in Bluff, so we had to commute to work from Invercargill. Hooray – we finally catch an Oyster season, but not the festival. This was the first trip away for our two new stevedores Josh Longstaff and Tony Ratahi. Cheers Bluffys, we do appreciate our time working in the deep south and experiencing the Southern hospitality. It remains a privilege being down there.

Annual picnic day

Finally I would like to mention the Annual Picnic Day held on the last Monday of January 2012. Members joined old timers and Port View Bowling Club members in a game of bowls and golf was played in Fitzroy, with fine weather. A great day and turn out. This occasion was enjoyed by all who attended. Thanks to the caterers, ladies in the kitchen, and bar management. See you next year 2013.

The Maritimes | Winter 2012 | 35

Mount Maunganui Tauranga By Selwyn Russell Well we all have had a busy few months in all our ports around new Zealand and Mount Maunganui Tauranga is no exception. What with the Rena, that is slowly being devoured by Tangaroa, and the help of our members, who are assisting in making sure they can get as much of its cargo off and brought ashore by barge before our beaches and kai-moana are desecrated yet again. It seems that we have been fortunate to say the least that we had such a long period of good weather immediately after the grounding that enabled the systems to be put into place. We will never know if we had the ability to react as an emergency as it did seem for the first five days after the Rena grounding, the official actual hands on response was not up to standard. My point being that if the weather was worse the impact would have been far more devastating. We must have the ability to react faster to minimise the damage that can be done in this type of situation. In some ways we were lucky but that does not give much support to the businesses, iwi, and people that this catastrophe has affected.

Ports of Auckland

Our branch members went up to the march in Auckland in April, along with many other affiliates from New Zealand and around the world. The support for our union and our members is inspirational, from people who have the common goal of caring about others in the same plight, going through similar stoushes with their various employers. We wish them all well and all have our continued support. It just reinforces the power of networking and our leaders National President Garry Parsloe and General Secretary Joe Fleetwood should be commended for their work along with past officials in growing relationships around the world with the ITF and other strong affiliates. Well done comrades.


It should be noted that we took around 35 members and whanau out to the AFFCO march in Te Puke on Saturday 19 May. It was a good turn out in support for locked out AFFCO workers, and 5 days later we got the news that they were able to return to work. So well done to all, and to the guys who could not make it do not worry at some stage we are going to be called on again to front up for the cause.


As you may be aware, the steel contract was up for grabs and there was real chance we could have lost the contract. That could have had serious ramifications around some of our ports where C3 are situated. The importance was highlighted by the input and involvement the General Secretary Joe Fleetwood was doing with extensive talks to help retain it. We had a presentation by the company to explain the reasoning and I can report that the members passed a unanimous decision to accept the deal and that was the reason they retained the contract. I can only express that I believe we all saved many of our members’ employment, so I congratulate all involved.


We are finally about to start talks here to put a collective in place.

Te Manu Toroa

A wage freeze put in place by the present Government and Ministry of Health has really had an impact here. They are having to justify every decision they make as they are only allowed to cut costs.

Wilsons Parking

Ratified and awaiting signing of document.


Currently in talks.


Another four new members here, and we seem to be progressing a good relationship with management and our union members.


The branch AGM is being held 28 June 2012, Mt Maunganui Hockey Club at 2pm.

Gisborne By Dein Ferris The Port has been reasonably busy recently. The downturn in logs does not seem to have affected things greatly. The Port has a priority for log vessels, which at times is counter productive to other port users. With only two berths available, one is for logs, and the other shared by all users including the odd tourist ship or navy vessel. There are times when this position affects us with some ships bypassing or delays into the next week. With the Jody F Millennium saga still having an effect on the port, some of us old timers who were there prior to all this modern technology shake our heads when vessels are not berthed or taken off the berth due to the advice from these wondrous instruments. Had they listened to us back then maybe none of this would have happened. The Port still has a huge health and safety problem with its inability to control the dust from the log areas. This is a situation we and the Company continue to address. Gisborne Stevedoring Services has had a steady season with shipments of squash running from January until April. We have also been loading kiwifruit vessels and have had our regular Plywood ships. This year’s income for our members would have been the best to date. This should reflect back on the Company, showing they also must be doing OK. Last month the District was basically isolated as both the roads north and south were closed and the railway line is still closed. There has been a petition delivered to Parliament to repair the line, one can only guess the outcome. The closure of the line and the road is not all bad in relation to the Port. The Anatoki has been bringing in fertiliser and metal chip. There has also been discussion regarding the return of coastal shipping with Pacifica having some input. The Gisborne Branch has supported all the actions of our Union in the Auckland dispute, even getting our pics on national TV and capped off by more pictures in our Union magazine. These sorts of things while showing support for our fellow unionists also help raise the awareness and presence of the union in the town.

36 | The Maritimes | Winter 2012

Napier By Bill Connelly

Around and about

The tourist vessels visits have finished for this season with the next one listed for the start of the coming season on 30 October 2012. The Port of Napier had an increase of 10% in the December quarter to 913,000 tonnes for the year. We also recorded an increase of 9% in container traffic for the same quarter. Port profits were up 10.5% for the December quarter to almost $2.76 million dollars before tax, from the $2.5 million in the same period last year. In the past twelve months to December, Napier’s port handled more than 191,000 containers, up 6% on the previous year. The CEO of the Port of Napier, Mr Garth Cowie was quoted as saying that Napier was the only port to have positive economic value added in the past four years. We look forward to another productive year.

C3: Formerly Toll Logistics New Zealand Limited A new Collective Agreement is in place until June 2013.

Hawkes Bay Stevedoring Services Limited: (HBSS)

With the restructuring process over our members in the employ of HBSS are looking forward with optimism to the next financial year. The container contract has been secured with the Port Company for a further two years, as from the 1st May 2012 and negotiations on the Local Port Schedule have also started.

Kelcold Limited

A new Collective Agreement is in place until August 2013.

Napier Branch Election of Officers and Executive President: Greg Keen. Vice-President: Bruce Winkley. Executive Members: C3: David Christiansen Employed in a permanent position. Barry Crawford Employed in a permanent position. Frank Guerin Employed in a permanent position. Doug Boyd Employed in a casual position. Mathew Preece Employed in a casual position. Hawkes Bay Stevedoring Services Limited: Dave McKenna Employed in a permanent position. Garry Richards Employed in a permanent position. Tim Thomson Employed in a permanent position. Stephen Pritchard Employed in a casual position. Albert Rewi Employed in a casual position. It should be noted that Greg Keen and Bruce Winkley have switched roles and Greg is now the President of the Branch, with Bruce the Vice-President. Greg will be attending the National Council meeting in May as an Observer from the Branch.


It is pleasing to hear that the AFFCO collective is well on its way to being settled and that the Auckland boys are back and in full operational mode. Not a very auspicious way to start the year off for both MUNZ and the Meatworkers Union, but it seems with perseverance and the backing of most of the New Zealand public common sense has prevailed. Well done to both Unions for hard fought battles, take a bow.

Whangarei By Ben Hathaway Over the past few months there has been a lot of activity in the port. The log area is very busy and doesn’t look like slowing down in the near future. Northland stevedores are currently loading a heavy lift ship with materials from the former power station at Marsden Point (one of Muldoon’s “Think Big” schemes that never got going) and that work is around the clock, so we have had to bring in labour from Hawkes Bay and Gisborne to help with our other contracts. Kiwifruit has started and we are expecting about 9 ships this season and along with our regular Triboard and Veneer, things are looking up as a new fertiliser facility has been built which will bring in more bulk cargo to service the north. Union members have been to Moerewa to support the meat workers in their struggle against Talleys and took part in the march through the town. Our collective has been signed off and also our drug and alcohol policy is almost complete.

Timaru By Tony Townshend The Timaru branch of Southern Cross Stevedores (Timaru Stevedoring Services) has taken on two new stevedores for the first time in 30 odd years. Timaru has been reasonably busy with fish boats and fertilizer and out of port work in Napier, Port Chalmers and Lyttelton with a lull at Easter time which was good. Our branch wishes all the best for the Auckland branch in their struggle.

Who’s who: Gerry Hill is currently researching history of the Cooks and Stewards Union and asks if any one can identify the individuals in this photo. Answers can be emailed to or sent to Gerry at 30 Ponsonby Terrace, Ponsonby, Auckland 1011

The Maritimes | Winter 2012 | 37

Auckland Local 13 By Russell Mayn

Industrial relations fairness for all

What a shambles industrial relations are in at the moment in New Zealand. Lockouts, strikes and attacks on workers and their families from the bottom of the South Island to the top of the North Island. These have been led by aggressive employers who have decided to attack Collective Agreements on the Waterfront and in the Meatworks. The strategy is to incentivise workers to walk away from collective bargaining and accept individual agreements. This cannot be achieved because workers understand that many of these offers are poisoned chalices. Every worker knows it is what you take home at the end of the week and what you have to undertake to earn that wage. The next step is to create a crisis and attack the Collective Agreement. Depict the union as unwilling to accept change and portray union members as lazy and unproductive, overpaid and underworked. But this is not where it ends. We have seen a new tactic arise where members’ private and personal details are released to right wing bloggers in an attempt to discredit individuals. This is unacceptable behaviour and when companies make such a fuss about values etc it hard to see where this fits into any value based organisation. It is around this time that a new Collective Agreement appears, all terms and conditions are removed and replaced with full managerial control. In the Ports of Auckland dispute the new collective was tabled under the threat of contracting out. Lockouts in both the Waterfront and Meatworks disputes have been used to starve workers and their families into submission. This is calculated to apply the maximum pressure to break the resolve of workers; it has not proved to be successful as unions and community groups throughout New Zealand have rallied to support workers and families under attack. What is missing is the right to decent work, wages and rosters. Rosters and work hours have to be safe and they have to be sustainable. This is not just about what the customer wants, this is about meeting the requirement of the Health and Safety Act and creating an atmosphere where workers buy into the workplace.

Throughout the Auckland dispute the union continually stated that it was not opposed to efficiencies, quite the opposite, Local 13 has been pro-active in Auckland and has championed the “TRACC Continuous Improvement” initiative which has been extremely successful in the Engineering sector. But what we are not willing to accept is the loss of decent rosters, decent conditions and decent wages. It is no crime to have good working conditions and good wages.

Effects of deregulation

Our union has been highlighting the Fishing Industry as an example of what happens when deregulation, contracting out and worker participation is removed. Savings generated from substandard employment are unacceptable and in this industry deregulation has led to abuses and a disregard of workers rights. The Age Care Industry is the same story, unfettered managerial control does not support decent and fair conditions. How long have the Nurses Organization (NZNO) and the Service and Food Workers Union (SFWU) been telling the New Zealand public about the plight of the workers in this industry. The unfortunate situation is that unions have to champion a living wage campaign in New Zealand simply because wages are so far below the cost of living families can no longer keep their heads above water. The campaign to win a decent Collective Agreement on the Auckland Waterfront is far from over. Whilst our members are back at work, contracting out has not gone away, regressive rosters are on the table and union busting is still on the agenda. I would like to take the opportunity to pass on our sincere thanks to everyone who has supported us in this dispute. Without the support of unions within New Zealand and internationally the task of defending our rights would have been that much more difficult. The support has been critical and we are grateful for the assistance we have received. Not only did we receive support from unions, we received help from politicians, councillors and most importantly from the general public. The resources that the ITF and the NZCTU provided have been exceptional and we will be continuing to use these over the ensuing months as we campaign to conclude a Collective Agreement that provides a fair and decent agreement. Much more will be written on this dispute and in a more detailed format. These articles will appear in future editions of the Port News and the Maritimes. Remember full reports on progress with the facilitation are delivered at the monthly stopwork meetings. “An Injury to One is an injury to All”

Len Gale, veteran of the 1951 waterfront dispute, lends a hand on the Ports of Auckland picket line. Here he displays his 1951 lockout loyalty card.

On the Line By Len Gale Veteran of the 1951 Waterfront Lockout You have to admire the men and women on the picket-line. Rain, hail, scorching sun and wind, they brave it all. A picket line is not just people standing on the curb waving flags and placards. It is a mobile school room where past struggles are recalled and analyzed, strategy and tactics. Where friendships form across the trades and occupations. Where “outsiders” come to offer support and are welcomed with warm handshakes along the line. Where overseas delegates come with money and pledges. No scab loaded vessels at our ports! They offer up their union flags and Tee-shirts, symbols of international solidarity. All day news comes from radios hooked into car batteries and from delegates returning from meetings and from the courts. One moment of relaxing the unions basic idea of justice and what we know in our culture as fair play and hard won conditions will evaporate. Justice lies in the heart and soul of people everywhere and that is the port workers strength and trump card. What else motivates workers to hold out for so long? The constant honking of horns and the occasional thrown kiss helps, it puts motorists on side and it sends a signal to the watchers on the port building balcony with their binoculars. That we are here, on the line, and in good heart.

38 | The Maritimes | Winter 2012

Auckland May Day 2012 By Garry Parsloe Chairman, May Day Committee President, Local 13 National President, Maritime Union of New Zealand CTU Unions Auckland and the May Day Committee both agreed to celebrate May Day on Saturday 5 May 2012. The decision was to meet up at the Maritime Club on Anzac Avenue and celebrate Workers’ International Day with speeches, drink and food. Labour MP Darien Fenton delivered an excellent presentation on the importance of May Day and talked about the attacks on workers and their unions. The food was excellent, consisting of a BBQ and trays of Peking Duck, Chili Seafood etc. Those in attendance discussed workers’ issues and union involvement in the protection of workers’ conditions of employment well into the night. So May Day was once again celebrated in true fashion in Auckland 2012.

At the Auckland 2012 May Day function, from left, Maritime Union National Vice President Carl Findlay, Labour MP and spokesperson Darien Fenton, and Maritime Union National President Garry Parsloe

Labour MP Phil Goff with Maritime Union National President Garry Parsloe at the Auckland Regional Labour Party Conference

CTU President Helen Kelly and MUNZ Lyttelton Branch leading the charge at the 5 April 2012 Auckland rally

Nelson Branch delegates at the 5 April Auckland rally

Local 13 stopwork meeting, Maritime Club, Auckland The Maritimes | Winter 2012 | 39

She started a new coastal trade of distributing bitumen and fuel oil from Marsden Point but while she started that new trade, overseas Shell or BP owned or chartered tankers started the distribution of refined products on the coast. Maurea’s claim to fame was as one of the first Shell tankers to receive the funnel colours of red with yellow shell. The Maurea served the bitumen trade for six years before being replaced by the Erne in 1970.

New Union Campaign The Kakariki

New Zealand Coastal Tankers By Hector Thorpe MUNZ 3111 During the early part of our history New Zealand, like many other countries, was dependent on the bulk importation of refined petroleum products from overseas oil tankers to help build our emerging economy. Shell, in a move to strengthen its market position in this trade opened a bulk oil installation plant at Mirimar, Wellington, in 1926. This was designed to receive and store the bulk oil products then transfer them as required into drums, tins and cases to enable local distribution around the coast via a small oil tanker. Tom Young, President of NZ Federated Seamen’s Union at that time, and Fintan Patrick Walsh who succeeded him the following year, acted early to secure employment on any such coastal tanker.


Shell used the twenty two year old oil tanker Anamba (1,835 gross tonnage), for a short period until the purpose built Paua arrived.


Shell’s Paua (1,260 gross tonnage) was on the coast from 1927 to 1950. NZ flagged and manned she carried petrol and kerosene in her nine oil tanks. She also had derricks for handling drums and case oil. My father Bill Thorpe, an ex seaman/ wharfie, although not sailing on her, recalls that she sat so low to the water you could touch it with your hands.

He also recalls as was customary in those times the crew’s accommodation was in the forecastle head near the anchors and chain lockers while the officers and engineers lived in the accommodation block down aft. Paua served Auckland, Tauranga, Gisborne, Napier, New Plymouth, Wanganui, Wellington, Picton, Nelson, Lyttelton, Oamaru, Timaru, Dunedin and Bluff for over twenty four years without major incident. She was replaced by the Tanea in 1950. Under her new Hong Kong owners and crew she was to run aground near Sitwe, Burma in 1956 and was declared a constructive total loss.


Shell’s Tanea (3,060 gross tonnage), was on the coast from 1950 to 1964. Tanea replaced the Paua in 1950. She also carried refined products in her six sets of port, centre and starboard cargo tanks. Tanea was to serve the industry for the next fourteen years until the opening of the Marsden Point Oil Refinery in 1964, when she became too small for the job and was replaced by the Maurea in 1964.


Shell’s twelve year old Maurea (2,928 gross tonnage), was on the coast from 1964 to 1970 as replacement for the Tanea. She was originally designed to carry bitumen in her six centre tanks, with ballast only in the wing tanks.

1964 not only marked the opening of the Marsden Point Oil Refinery but also the election of Pincher Martin as National President of the union. A union campaign was re-launched to secure jobs on dedicated coastal tankers. The success of that campaign resulted in the oil companies, who had an interest in the Marsden Point oil Refinery stop the procession of overseas tankers on the coast and use tankers fully manned by local Seamen’s Union members.


The newly built Athelviscount (12,778 gross tonnage) was the result of the union’s campaign for jobs. She was picked up in Durban in 1965 and was on the coast from 1965 to 1978. She had eleven centre tanks and nine sets of wing tanks. She went on to serve the coast for the next thirteen years. I joined her in 1977 as an unqualified ordinary seaman. She was scrapped a year later at Hong Kong in 1978. Athelviscount was replaced by the Amokura in 1978.


The seven year old Hamilton (13,186 gross tonnage) was on the coast from 1967 to 1975. She had nine sets of port, centre and starboard cargo tanks and served the coast for eight years making over 300 voyages from Marsden Point, distributing nearly six million tonnes of products. The Hamilton was replaced by the Kotuku in 1975. Three years latter under new owners and crew, after the discharge of crude oil at Manila Bay while at anchor undergoing repairs she exploded. Thirty of the fifty eight Chinese, Indonesian and Filipino crew on board or nearby lost their lives, and many others suffered from burns.

40 | The Maritimes | Winter 2012


The seven year old Erne (14,244 gross tonnage) was on the coast from 1970 to 1984. She replaced the Maurea as the black oil tanker carrying bitumen, fuel oil and marine diesel. She had twenty seven cargo tanks and with bosun Bobby Gillespie sailed without incident for fourteen years, before being set for demolition at Taiwan in 1984. The Erne was replaced by the Taiko in 1984.

Amokura (the red-tailed tropic-bird)

The two year old Amokura (19,867 gross tonnage) was on the coast from 1978 to 1993 as replacement for the Athelviscount in 1978. Amokura was owned by Marsden Point Tankers Ltd as part of the Papachristidis Group. She had six sets of port, centre and starboard cargo tanks. It was also well known her sister ship Kurdistan which had never sailed to New Zealand, ran into ice and broke in half near the Cabot Strait in 1979. Amokura also had the first female pumpman/person in Lin Sauer. Lin was a good worker and although slight of build was very strong and could easily handle the big manual valves onboard, she was also a good unionist and when a shipboard romance blossomed with the bosun, Darren Brack, they married. I also recall in 1989 when John O’Neil, Darren Brack and I were in the forecastle head store and John observed, “You don’t often get this”. “What’s that?” we said. “Three current bosuns on the same ship in the forecastle head at the same time”. He was right you don’t often get that, Darren as bosun on the Amokura; John was the bosun on the Taiko working on her while on leave, as was I, bosun on the bulk carrier Pioneer Tween. The Amokura served the industry for fifteen years and was sold in 1993. Six years later with 24,000 tons of vegetable oil on board she grounded in the River Paran, Uruguay.

Increased tonnage

During the mid-1970s with increased output from the Marsden Point Oil Refinery, two new tankers were ordered, sister ships Kotuku and Kuaka.

Kotuku (the white heron)

Kotuku (16,221 gross tonnage) was on the coast from 1975 to 1998 having replaced the Hamilton. She was owned by Wellington Tankers Ltd as part of the Papachristidis Group.

She had eight sets of port, centre and starboard cargo tanks. The main point of difference between her and her sister ship Kuaka which was to arrive a few months later in January 1996 was that Kotuku was fitted with heating coils in her cargo tanks to enable her to carry black oil. One of my first memories onboard her was as ordinary seaman in 1978. While eating my dinner I noticed some of the crew looking at me. Eventually someone said “that’s the bosun’s seat”. When the bosun arrived and the matter of the seat was raised, as a cheeky up start I said to him “it hasn’t got your name on it”. But of course John O’Neil was far too canny for that, he said “let me show you”, and upon exposing the underside of the chair, sure enough there was this name ‘JOHN’ written in chalk! We have got on ever since.

Kuaka (the blue heron)

Kuaka (16,221 gross tonnage) was on the coast from 1976 to 1996. She was owned by Auckland Tankers Ltd also part of the Papachristidis Group. During her twenty years on the coast she completed 750 coastal voyages and loaded 250 feedstock cargoes from Port Taranaki, totalling about 25 million tonnes coastwise. She also made about forty laden transTasman voyages. As an ordinary seaman on her in 1979 I recall gaining helpful training in seamanship standards and skill from the bosun John Beckett. I’m sure John’s motto was, to be a good unionist you first must be a good worker. Kuaka was replaced by the Toanui in 1996.

Taiko (the black petrel)

The Taiko (21,187 gross tonnage) was on the coast from 1984 to 2006. She was built in Nagasaki and owned by the Union Steam Ship Co and replaced the bitumen carrier Erne in 1984 as the new black oil tanker. After initial manning issues Taiko made her first N Z arrival in 1984. The oil majors chartered her for fifteen years then at the end of that charter period they purchased her from Union Shipping via their company Penagree 2. She continued to trade under the management of Fern Shipping and Coastal Tankers. In total Taiko served the coast for twenty two years without incident before being sold.


Tarihiko (2,169 gross tonnage) was on the coast from 1984 to 1999. A different type of tanker, liquefied petroleum gas (L.P.G). She was owned by Ship Leasing, operated by Liquigas, and was managed by Blueport ACT and later P.& O.

She loaded L.P.G. at New Plymouth and distributed it to Lyttelton, Dunedin and Onehunga. She is best remembered for assisting in the rescue of 356 passengers from the stricken Russian cruise liner Mikhail Lermontov at Port Gore in 1986. In 1999 after fifteen years on the coast the Tarihiko was replaced by foreign operators and two years later with her Latvian crew onboard she ran aground while on passage from Teeport to the Thames.

Toanui (the shearwater)

The nine year old Toanui (23,547 gross tonnage) was on the coast from 1996 to 1999, having replaced the Kuaka. She was owned by Seabird Ltd Auckland and was the first tanker to have the new modified funnel colours. The black funnel with white fern remained, but now with two horizontal white bands separated by a pale blue-grey horizontal band. I joined her not as a crew member but rather as part of a three man riding gang to assist with water blasting the pipe work on the main deck while at sea. So it was with great relief when we were due off, however the skipper dropped a bomb shell by saying one of us had to stay back, and selected one of us based on what I assume was their time owed. However, the man selected would not have it. So via the delegates the captain was approached and was told he would get a man, it’s just we would sort out who that man would be, by result of cutting the cards. I was shocked to draw a low card, however the lowest card was drawn by the man the captain wanted. Again he would not have it and requested best out of three, and we agreed. Unfortunately he drew the lowest card again. (all names withheld)

Kakariki (the green parrot)

The Kakariki was on the coast from 1999 to the current day. The new (27,795 gross tonnage) doublehull tanker is owned by the four oil majors Shell, BP, Mobil, and Chevron via their holding company Penagree and managed by their ship management company Silver Fern Shipping. She arrived in New Zealand for the first time, at Lyttelton from Geelong, on 8 June 1999, where I joined her. The ship’s official blessing ceremony was held by my whānau member Kaumatua Deacon Peter Tauwhare. Both Captains Mike Webb and Tommy Wilson, bosun Doug Howard and crew were part of the officiating guest party.

The Maritimes | Winter 2012 | 41

I stayed for a couple of trips, only to rejoin her ten years later in Alby Payne’s crowd, where Dennis Porter showed me the ropes on tanker familiarization before I went solo gearman once again. Kakariki basically has ten sets of cargo tanks divided into port and starboard and can carry up to nine fully segregated products with special bitumen tanks amidships further subdivided into four which can hold 3000 tonnes of bitumen. These days the coastal tankers mostly load at Marsden Point and discharge at Auckland, Tauranga, Napier, Wellington, New Plymouth, Nelson, Lyttelton, Timaru, Dunedin and Bluff.

John’s a big man and you can tell he can handle himself, so he recalls when he joined the Waihemo one of the seamen said to him, “Do you know that big …. on the Holmburn”, referring to the 7 foot 2 engineer, John replied “yeah”, “well Hori Briggs knocked him over”. John recalls “so after hearing this and having never met Hori, and while lining up for a job the next day, in walks this smaller guy.” John asks “are you Hori Briggs the bosun”, Hori replies “yeah”. John says “I heard you are a giant slayer, don’t worry you wont get any trouble out of me”!


The purpose built Awanuia (2,747 gross tonnage) was on the coast from 2009 to the current day. She replaced the single-hulled Tolema barge. The Awanuia is owned by Seafuels, a joint venture company between Ports of Auckland and Pacific Basin Hong Kong and is under time charter to Z Energy to provide a re-fuelling service for cruise ships and commercial vessels calling at the Port. I have completed a few relieving jobs on her so from the top to the bottom, me; there’s a total complement of only six persons. John Skrine ex Silver Fern and Rick Hunter ex Pacifica were the Skippers, Tava Vete Senior was there also, meaning I have sailed with all the Vete seamen, Harry on Jensen Southland and the youth of the industry, Peter bosun on Kakariki with his brother Tava. Awanuia can carries up to 3200MT of heavy fuel oil and 700MT of marine gas oil or 25,000 barrels of oil in her eight tanks and recently came to prominence after spending nearly six weeks in the Bay of Plenty assisting in the salvage of the Rena.

The five year old Torea (25,400 gross tonnage) has been on the coast since 2006 to the current day. On behalf of the four oil majors Silver Fern Shipping, now purchased by ASP Shipping, has chartered Torea from Unicorn Shipping which is owned by Grindrod, a Johannesburg Shipping Company. Torea has 12 cargo tanks port and starboard and as is common practice reserves one of her two slop tanks to carry extra white fuel. Occasionally she will also load condensate/light oil at Port Taranaki for Marsden Point. Although Torea has Silver Fern Shipping colours on the funnel she remains distinct by retaining Unicorn Shipping colours of orange hull and blue decking. While relieving on Torea in 2012 I had the opportunity to sail with bosun John O’Neil once again. John has a wealth of tanker industry knowledge, an in depth memory of the men and women who have sailed on them and an excellent account of our union’s history. All this has been gained over a life time at sea, so as bosun or delegate where some of the real action and decisions have needed to be made, John O’Neil has led and served the industry with a steady hand. Maybe that’s the reason he’s been elected to every National executive position he has chosen to stand for, and he has also received the honour of life membership to the union and currently holds the position of joint Vice President of Local 13. But even John O’Neil once had a bosun, so when asked he said “the best bosun I ever had was Hori Briggs”. John has always spoken very highly of the Briggs whānau, all ex bosuns and good unionists. There was Gordon, Joe, Hori, Whetu, Ihaia and his good mate Ari Briggs, and Walton worked mostly in the fishing industry.


Fuel supply now

The listed New Zealand Refining Company at Marsden Point has a processing agreement with the four oil majors Mobil BP Chevron and Z Energy to an allocation of refinery capacity based on their holdings in that company. Half of the production (about 8 million litres per day) of petrol, jet fuel and diesel is delivered to the Wiri terminal at Auckland via a 170km pipeline. The rest is loaded over the Marsden Point wharf onto the Kakariki which is owned by the four oil majors via their holding company Penagree and is chartered to Silver Fern Shipping for ship management and crewing. Silver Fern Shipping is owned by ASP Ship Management Company Singapore.

Kakariki is then time chartered to Coastal Oil Logistics, another company connected to the four oil majors which is primarily used for scheduling deliveries around the coast. The Torea is chartered from Unicorn Tankers which is owned by the Johannesburg shipping company Grindrod and managed the same way as Kakariki.

Over the last eighty six years

Over the last eighty six years coastal tankers have come and gone after safely and successfully completing their assignments. Throughout this period they had many New Zealand and overseas owners, overseas consortiums, chartering companies, NZ and overseas ship crew management companies and oil logistic scheduling companies, however one thing that has remained consistent throughout this period is the employment of local unionised seafarers. It’s been no plain sailing for the union and crews to maintain this consistent record through industry changes, integration, training, automation, safety, wages, manning and budget constraints. However, to this day MUNZ members remain completely unionized under a collective agreement which has ensured past and present members have played their part in a unionised New Zealand Oil Tanker Fleet, with a safety record second to none.

Reference NZ Ship & Marine Society, Capt Michael Pryce, John O’Neil

42 | The Maritimes | Winter 2012

Jagged Seas: Union history launched By Victor Billot The publication of “Jagged Seas”, the official history of the New Zealand Seamen’s Union, in March 2012 marks the successful conclusion of a substantial project for the Union. Author David Grant was commissioned by the Maritime Union of New Zealand to complete the history and began work in 2004. Readers of the Maritimes will have already come across a couple of excerpts from the book in recent years that were kindly supplied by the author. Published by Canterbury University Press, “Jagged Seas” covers the entire history of the Seamen’s Union in New Zealand, from its origins in 1879 until the amalgamation with the Waterfront Workers Union in 2003 into the Maritime Union of New Zealand. Thus it complements and extends the 1968 publication of “Against the Wind”, Conrad Bollinger’s history of the NZSU up to that point, although David Grant notes in his introduction that he was able to source material that was unavailable at the time of this earlier history. David Grant is a leading New Zealand labour historian who has published widely, including editing “The Big Blue”, snapshots of the 1951 waterfront lockout, published by CUP in 2004, and his experience and long association with maritime trade union history has contributed to this authoritative work. The Otago Daily Times in a recent review of “Jagged Seas” stated a key element of the book was its honesty, with the book “laying bare” both the internal disputes of the Union and its numerous successes. “Jagged Seas” is well structured and divided into well defined chapters that are based around key events and themes in the life of the Union. Both the “official” life of the Union – its statements, actions and internal business –and the “view from the ships”, the life and times of rank and file seafarers, are covered well. The early days of the Union, and its relationship of the Union with the State and employers, and the emerging political and industrial wings of the workers movement, is covered in depth.

This includes the central role of the Union in the 1890 and 1913 strikes, the use of arbitration and direct action, political engagement and the syndicalist leanings of the time, and the emergence of a modern union movement in the early years of the twentieth century. The effects of war and depression in the first half of the twentieth century were major influences on the development of the Union. At the same time, the big personalities who defined the Union in many ways, are profiled. The fiery formative period of the Union saw the leadership of characters such as John Millar (a sea captain who went from being a reviled militant to a right wing MP), the fall from grace of Bill Belcher, and

the intelligent but acerbic Tom Young, who was eventually driven out of the union movement by his replacement, Fintan Patrick Walsh. The arrival of Walsh, known as the “Black Prince”, on the scene ushered in a period where the NZSU occupied a powerful position in New Zealand society due to Walsh’s close connections with the establishment, while suffering from a virtual dictatorship in terms of union government. The story of how Walsh managed to maintain the leadership of the NZSU, while simultaneously holding the Presidency of the Federation of Labour and key positions in a number of other unions, makes for fascinating if at times depressing reading.

The height of this contradiction was of course the 1951 waterfront lockout, where rank and file seamen backed the wharfies, while Walsh as FOL leader actively worked against them - yet maintained his control of the NZSU. Walsh’s death in 1963 ushered in a new day for the NZSU, as new leaders emerged from the rank and file such as Pincher Martin, Jimmy Woods, and Dave Morgan, who would go on to lead the Union through some torrid times until its amalgamation with the watersiders in 2003. The highs and lows of this latter period are remarkable. The deregistration of the Union in 1973 and conflict with both National and Labour Governments heralded a fraught era for New Zealand seafarers that saw the establishment and collapse of the New Zealand Shipping Line, and then the sabotage of the coastal shipping industry with the “open coast” policy introduced by a National Government in 1994. What stands out for me is the story of how the Union has managed to navigate the “jagged seas” of history, politics and economics, and maintain a distinctive culture and leading role in the New Zealand union movement, through to today’s Maritime Union. David Grant offers a well reasoned argument that the Union’s militant image has often belied a calculated and pragmatic approach. I felt there was an occasional tendency to dismiss more radical elements of union politics, and why this culture has been so resilient in the Union, as it has offered an alternative to the mainstream approach of an uncomfortable accommodation with the Labour Party. This principled tradition is especially notable in the level of commitment of the NZSU to diverse internationalist political causes including the struggle against apartheid and the creation of a nuclear weapon free New Zealand. The other aspect to note is the quality of the publication itself. Running to nearly four hundred pages, “Jagged Seas” is generously illustrated with high quality, black and white and colour photos, cartoons, sketches and other graphics. It’s a well presented book, and features extensive footnotes and a thorough bibliography and index. This is a major publication and this history should be required reading for any MUNZ member, as well as those with a general interest in New Zealand history, politics, economics, the workers movement, and the maritime world. Available in all good bookshops or to order online, see catalogue/jagged.shtml The Maritimes | Winter 2012 | 43

Interport 2012 Mount Maunganui Tauranga The 57th Interport Sports Tournament was hosted by the Mt. Maunganui-Tauranga branch from 12-16 February, 2012. Tauranga is New Zealand’s sixth largest city, having surpassed Dunedin in 2008. With a population of 15,000, Mt. Maunganui is a beachside suburb of Tauranga City, with great facilities for holding an Interport Tournament, and it was here that the athletes of MUNZ gathered to contest the 2012 tournament. The Council of Sports annual meeting was held at the Omanu Golf Club premises on Sunday 12 February, where local branch President Peter Harvey, welcomed the participants and offered the hospitality of the branch. In the official programme local branch Secretary Selwyn Russell extended similar sentiments asking visitors to enjoy the week and have a safe journey home. The Council of Sport determined that next year’s tournament would be held in Bluff, with the 2014 event in either Auckland or Whangarei.

Fishing The fishing took place on the M.V. Deepstar, leaving Salisbury Wharf at 7.30am each morning, returning at 5pm. Everyone knows that the best day’s working is much inferior to the worst day’s fishing. However, Monday put that theory to the test. Rocking and rolling in extremely rough seas saw eight intrepid fishers laying down ground bait through repeated chunders! Fortunately, although the forecasts never improved, the actual weather did and after the first day it was clear sailing. Numbers were down a bit this year given that two ports withdrew due to the exclusion zone around the grounded ‘Rena’. However, four ports competed for a brand new Port Competition Trophy donated by Wallace Investments. This competition saw Port Chalmers establish a huge lead after two days, before Auckland pegged them back on the last day to take the new trophy by a single point.

Fishing Daily Prizes 2012 Day 1

Snapper: Phil Siminson (Pt. Ch) 2.2 lb. Tarakihi: Clive Giles (Pt. Ch) 2.2 lb. Skipjack Tuna: Simeon Tairua (Akl) 7.2 lb.

Day 2

Trevally: Clive Giles (Pt. Ch) 3.8 lb. Snapper: Paul Wilson (Pt. Ch) 2.2 lb. Tarakahi: Terry Ryan (Akl) 2.9 lb. Rex Philpott (Bluff) 2.5 lb. Joe Raymond (Akl) 2.3 lb. Skipjack Tuna: Fred Salalea (Akl) 8.1 lb Phil Siminson (Pt. Ch) 7.8 lb

Day 3

Snapper: Steve Conroy Jun (Akl) Rex Philpott (Bluff) 2.6 lb

2.8 lb

Day 4

Trevally: Harry Mayn (Akl) 1.3 lb Snapper: Phil Siminson (Pt. Ch) 2.1 lb Gwen Salalea (Akl) 1.3 lb Rex Philpott (Bluff) 1.2 lb Tarakihi: Joe Raymond (Akl) 1.7 lb Simeon Tairua (Akl) 1.7 lb Fred Salalea (Akl) 1.6 lb MauMau: Steve Conroy Jun (Akl) 3.7 lb

Great to see the legendary Arthur Pitcher still competing as he has at all the Interports since they began in 1955. Look forward to seeing Arthur in Bluff next year at the 58th tournament. No hole-in-one this year. However, Mike Myers was able to retain his trophy much to the chagrin of Wellington’s George Ward. A good response saw 68 golfers competing at this year’s Interport from 10 ports.

Golfing Tournament Results 2012 KereKere Canoe Teams Competition

Winners: Port Chalmers (Graeme Donaldson, Frazer Adams, Cyril McWilliams, Rick Richan, Graham Waugh, Rodney Douglas) Runners Up: Auckland (Danny Belsham, Steve Campbell, Chick Waretini, Jim Behrent, Arthur Peke, Aubrey Slade)

Interport Cup 54 Hole Net:

Rodney Douglas (Pt. Ch) 201

Chapman Plate R/up 54 Hole Net: Brian Keno (Tauranga) 206

Rare Cup 54 Hole Gross:

Pacifica Cup

Steve Campbell (Akl) Runner Up 54 Hole Gross: Eugene Douglas, Lyttelton

Port News Cup

Dan Manu, New Plymouth Runner Up 54 Hole Par: Tommy Morgan, Bluff

Fishing Tournament Trophies 2012 1st Snapper: Steve Conroy Jun (Akl) 2.8 lb 2nd Snapper: Rex Philpott (Bluff) 2.6 lb 3rd Snapper: Paul Wilson (Pt. Ch) 2.2 lb 1st Tarakahi: Terry Ryan (Akl) 2.9 lb 2nd Tarakahi: Clive Giles (Pt. Ch) 2.1 lb 3rd Equal: Joe Raymond & Simeon Tairua (Akl) 1.7 lb

Largest Fish

1st Skipjack Tuna: Fred Salalea (Akl) 8.1 lb 2nd Skipjack Tuna: Paul Simonson (Pt. Ch) 7.8 lb 3rd Skipjack Tuna: Simeon Tairua (Akl) 7.2 lb

Best Trevally

1st. Clive Giles (Pt. Ch) 3.8 lb 2nd Harry Mayn (Akl) 1.3 lb

Wallace Invest. Interport Fishing Team Trophy: Auckland

Golf Golf took place at the Omanu Golf Club’s Mt. Maunganui course. The clubhouse doubled as the Interport headquarters for the opening ceremony and entertainment, the venue for the Council of Sport meeting and the prizegiving, and farewell social. Auckland golfers KereKere Canoe team believed they were capable of regaining the trophy that they lost to the Port Chalmers six last year. A great struggle saw the lads from the Deep South comfortable winners of the tournament’s premier trophy.

Flett Black 54 Hole Par:

George Waller 54 Hole S/ford:

Nev Rowlands, New Plymouth Runner Up 54 Hole S/ford: Graham Waugh, Pt. Chalmers

Crockett Lewis 18 Hole S/Ford (Mon): Danny Belsham (Akl)

Norm Fisher Best Gross Any Day: Jim Behrent (Akl) 75

Tareha Cup 4 Ball Best Ball: Danny Belsham (Akl), Graham Waugh (Pt. Ch)

Wallington Cup 4 Ball Best Ball: Bob Johns (New Plymouth), Steve Campbell (Akl)

Ray Dobson Trophy (Visitors 54 Hole S/Ford): Robert Gibbons (Nelson)

Bill Brown Best Net (Outside main trophies): Terry Hermansson

Most Golf:

Mike Myers (Onehunga)

Credit Union Cup (Ladies): Val Johns (New Plymouth)

Tom Heenan Trophy:

George Ward (Wellington)

Artie Pitcher Cup Best Net Visitor: John Watling

Thanks to Terry Ryan and Port News for the Interport results and photos.

44 | The Maritimes | Winter 2012

Fishing group at the 2012 Interport, Mount Maunganui Tauranga

Southern Style: Port Chalmers Dunedin Branch members retain the KereKere Canoe Trophy, from left to right: Rodney Douglas, Fraser Adams, Graham (Winky) Waugh, Rick Richan, Cyril McWilliam (Tussock) and Graeme (Smokey) Donaldson

Interport Sports Tournament 2013

The Interport Sports Tournament will be held in Bluff from Monday 11 February 2013 - Thursday 14 February 2013. The sports will be golf, fishing, and pool and darts. Entries close 30 October 2012. Golf - Queens Park Golf Club, Invercargill Fishing - Bluff Pool and darts - if sufficient entries, Bluff Entry fee: Golf, pool and darts $150, Fishing $250

Golf accommodation: Queens Park Motels (03)2144504 Homestead Villa Motel (03)2140408 Heritage Court Motel (03)2147911 All motels are within easy walking distance from the golf course. Accommodation is limited in Bluff. For any assistance, contact Bluff Branch Secretary Ray Fife on 0274475317 or email The Maritimes | Winter 2012 | 45

Busy time for maritime publications A burst of publications on maritime and union issues has deluged the Maritimes office recently. This edition we review “Jagged Seas”, the official history of the New Zealand Seamen’s Union, together with three diverse new books below. We will publish reviews of two more recent publications in our next edition – Cybele Locke’s history of post war radical unionism “Workers in the Margins”, and “The Saltwater Highway”, a new history of New Zealand ports and the maritime industry by Gordon McLauchlan.

Black Tide

By John Julian (HodderMoa, $39.99) The Rena disaster is now in the transition between newspaper report to historical event. “Black Tide” gives a full account of the events around the grounding of the Rena in 2011 and the immediate aftermath. It provides a critical view of the roll out of the official response of Maritime New Zealand, but provides a balanced picture. More importantly, the book delves and examines some of the wider issues in question, including the problems of modern shipping, including fatigue and the diffusion of responsibility of owners and operators when things go wrong. The author consulted widely with maritime industry sources and allows them to speak in their own words: MUNZ General Secretary Joe Fleetwood is quoted speaking on behalf of the Union. More information at the publishers website

Scotland’s Radical Exports: the Scots abroad, how they shaped politics and trade unions By Pat Kelly (The Grimsay Press) This ambitious work is a labour of love for the author, Pat Kelly, who is a former President of the Scottish Trade Union Council (no relative of the late New Zealand trade union leader who shared the same name.) It is the story of an important part of the Scottish diaspora, the great flow of immigrants who travelled throughout the world and played such an important role in new societies. Many of these Scots played key roles in the workers’ movement – as rank and file union members, union leaders, and political activists and representatives with liberal, labour, socialist and communist parties.

The author covers the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The Scots influence in the New Zealand trade union and labour movement is substantial, especially in the maritime unions. Waterfront leaders Toby Hill and Alec Drennan are profiled, as well as a number of other well known and lesser known figures such as Labour Prime Minister Peter Fraser, and unionists Con Devitt, Angus MacLagan, the seamen’s leader John Millar and David McLaren, a one time Wellington waterfront leader and leader of the Labour Party in its early days. The author deals both with the public and personal lives in a thorough and informed way. In a nice touch, the cover illustration of this book is a photo of a 1913 union march in Wellington that features a Seamen’s Union banner. More information at the publishers website

To Auckland By The Ganges

Edited by Robert M. Grogans is another recent Scottish publication with a strong New Zealand and maritime connection. The book comprises the edited diaries of Scots journalist David Buchanan who emigrated to Auckland, New Zealand in 1863 aboard the sailing ship Ganges. His account of the journey is well written, and has been edited with a deft touch, giving an insight into the lives and conditions aboard sailing vessels of the time, for both passengers and crews. Buchanan’s amiable musings on shipboard life and times are occasionally interrupted by the casual prejudices of his social position and era on race, religion and class. The conclusion of his journey is a depressing one as he arrives in Auckland as the Land Wars were just getting underway. But this is what gives the book its depth and authenticity, because it reminds you of the gulf of time and experience that separates you from the author’s life. For many New Zealanders, this book describes the experiences of their ancestors who would have travelled out in similar conditions, braving several months aboard a vulnerable vessel amidst the great oceans. Further information at the publishers website To_Auckland_by_the_Ganges

46 | The Maritimes | Winter 2012

Greed versus responsibility By Dave Phillips Local 13 Maritime Walking Delegate Announcements recently by Minister of Labour Kate Wilkinson about changes (or what she calls “Industrial relations improvements”) to labour laws are nothing but an all-out attack on Unions and people who make the decision to join collectively to improve the investment they make on behalf of the employer daily which is their time and skill. Apathy will be the stumbling block which will allow her and her Government to ram home changes that will drastically change the industrial landscape in New Zealand. Let’s see what has and is unfolding since the National government came to power and how it has paid back its mates. • The re-implementation of the Employment Contracts Act by stealth. • The 90 day bill, a right to fire without recourse for the affected. • No binding of new employees to the terms and conditions of the collective for the first thirty days. • Deduction of wages for partial strike (work to rule); the amount will be determined by the employer. • The secret strike ballot legislation with all its hooks that gives employers the right to challenge the vote and therefore drag out the process, an attack on collective bargaining and the last tool in the arsenal of workers the withdrawal of labour, all these measures are designed to benefit their mates.

Where is the improvement for the working-class man or woman? There are none. No wonder people are looking offshore for a better future for themselves and their families. Don’t go looking offshore, stay here – “Stand and Fight”. These are your work sites. These are your hard won conditions. Corporate bullies may come flooding out of the closets and embark on driving down rates of pay and conditions but if the law is an ass you kick it. It is well known that corporates in our country feel our rates of pay are too high and our workplace conditions don’t suit the capitalist mentality. Talley’s are a classic demonstration of what they think of their employees who are asking for respect and a decent negotiated collective by their representative the union. Be aware this is the face of industrial relationships being promoted by Key and his cronies. How dare my slaves ask for a contract unless I write it and put in what I want, “Lock em out!”. Pundits have been waffling on in recent times that the trade union movement is past its use by date and living in the 70s. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I am picking with the right leadership you will see growth in union density over the next two years leading into the next election. We did learn from the bad experience of the ECA in the 1990s that sitting on our hands and thinking it won’t be so bad was a bitter pill that almost choked us. That legislation was designed purely to smash the trade union movement, it did not succeed but like rust they are at it again. There also needs to be some solid policy coming from the Labour Party through to the next election, not watered down middle of the road bullshit that attempts to please everyone.

Branch and local contacts Whangarei Mobile: 021 855121 Fax: 09 459 4972 Address: PO Box 397, Whangarei Email:    Auckland Local 13 Phone: 09 3034 652 Fax: 09 3096 851 Mobile: 021 326 261 (President Garry Parsloe) 021 760 886 (Secretary Russell Mayn) 021 670002 (Walking Delegate D. Phillipps) Address: PO Box 1840, Shortland Street, Auckland 1140 Email: Mount Maunganui Phone:  07 5755 668 Fax: 07 5759 043 Mobile: 0274 782308 Address: PO Box 5121, Mt. Maunganui Email:

Gisborne Local 38     Mobile: 025 6499697 Address: 5 Murphy Road, Gisborne Email: New Plymouth Mobile: 021 233 8193 Address: PO Box 6084, New Plymouth Napier Phone/Fax: 06 8358 622 Mobile: 027 6175441 Address: PO Box 70, Napier Email: Wellington Phone: 04 3859 288 (Secretary Mike Clark) 04 8017 619 (Asst. Secretary John Whiting) Fax: 04 3848 766 Mobile: 0274 538222 (Secretary Mike Clark) 021 606379 (Asst. Secretary John Whiting) Address: PO Box 27004, Wellington Email:

In power for 9 years they had the opportunity to reverse the effects of the ECA but it was smoke and mirrors and weasel words. Ensconced within the Party are too many academics talking the talk but no kahunas to walk the walk. The New Zealand working-class deserves a Party that listens to them and implements laws and policy that cater for their voters and not to the whims of capitalism. To say that society has matured into a centrist environment of middle left and middle right again is crap. Labour, wakeup and smell the roses, your traditional following has waited long enough for you to show the intestinal fortitude to step up and do the business. Get back to your traditional roots and stand on the policy that formed your party. This time round we need to hit the streets and vigorously oppose the proposed slashing of our rights. Capitalists after destroying the global economy have reverted to living in the 1900s and are pulling out all stops to achieve a climate of the indentured serf without a voice or right. Leadership in the working movement needs to mobilise early in the play to counter this corporate terrorism that will systematically dismantle the face of industrial relations as we know it. We can only achieve a proper resistance if we take a political stand. Sitting inanely in the workplace or at home hoping others are going to fix it this time just won’t stack up. All workers in New Zealand have a stake in this and need to take a position of conviction to join the rallies or protests that no doubt will be organised to send Wilkinson a message – “Enough is enough!”

Nelson Fax: 03 5472104 Mobile: 027 6222691 Address: PO Box 5016, Nelson Email: Lyttelton Local 43 Phone: 03 3288 306 Fax: 03 3288 798 Address: PO Box 29, Lyttelton   Timaru Phone/Fax: 03 6843 364 Mobile: 021 2991091 Address: PO Box 813, Timaru Email:   Port Chalmers Dunedin Local 10 Phone: 03 4728 052 Fax: 03 4727 492 Mobile:  0274 377601 Address: PO Box 44, Port Chalmers Email: Bluff Phone/Fax: 03 2128 189 Mobile: 027 4475317 Address: PO Box 5, Bluff Email: The Maritimes | Winter 2012 | 47

Profile for Maritime Union of New Zealand

The Maritimes Winter 2012  

Official magazine of the Maritime Union of New Zealand

The Maritimes Winter 2012  

Official magazine of the Maritime Union of New Zealand


Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded