Port of Auckland workers protest mayor’s long-term lease proposal

Ports of Auckland workers gathered on the streets outside Auckland Town Hall on Thursday to oppose the ports being leased out by the council.

A group of around 40 workers in high-vis were outside the town hall ahead of Auckland Council’s first meeting since consultation began on the city’s Long-Term Plan – including Mayor Wayne Brown’s proposal for privatising the ports.

The mayor wanted to lease out operations at Port of Auckland for around 35 years while retaining council ownership of the land. He proposed the lease to fund the rising costs of running the city and to put the brakes on rates rises.

He wanted to create a $3 to 4 billion fund called the Auckland Future Fund, with money from the leasing of the port and selling some or all of the council’s shares in Auckland Airport.

Workers at the port and the Maritime Union “strongly oppose” the proposal, Grant Williams from the Maritime Union said. They believed it would be handing over a key asset of the city to a private monopoly.

“It would come at a great cost to Aucklanders.”

He was concerned the mayor had not released a report on the economic viability of a port sale, given to council by economist Craig Renney.

“All relevant information must be available to ratepayers,” Williams said.

Port of Auckland workers on the bus back to work after demonstrating outside Auckland Town Hall in opposition of mayor's plan to see the port's land.

The Maritime Union was not the only group concerned about the proposal to lease the port – earlier this week an open letter signed by business leaders, politicians, art figures, and architects opposed the move, arguing Auckland should not transfer control of 77 hectares of prime waterfront land.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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