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Jobs for the boys

Belinda Vernon National Transport Spokesperson

18 March 2001

Jobs for the boys

"The appointment of National Seafarers' President Dave Morgan to the board of shipping company Pacific Forum Line is totally inappropriate and exposes a serious conflict of interest," says National's Transport spokesperson Belinda Vernon said today.

"This is Mr Morgan's third Government appointment since 1999 and is nothing more than returning favours for services rendered from the last election.

"It is totally inappropriate for him to be sitting at the board table because it creates serious conflicts of interest.

"How long will it be before Mr Morgan demands that New Zealand seafarers take over the manning of Pacific Forum Line (PFL) ships?

"The aim of a company like PFL is always to improve service and increase efficiency. This is in direct conflict with unions' focus to keep as many crew on a ship as possible and to raise their wages as high as possible.

"The aims of PFL and Mr Morgan will be at odds because as a lifelong union negotiator he is driven to promote the interests of the Seafarers' Union rather than improve efficiency and productivity for the company.

"Last year PFL had to threaten legal action to get its ships loaded in the face of a union ban on trade with Fiji. As a result they were promised 'continued union protest action'. How would Dave Morgan have acted if he had been a director then?

"Throughout his career Mr Morgan has been more interested in securing artificial conditions for his members than helping companies achieve international competitiveness. I doubt he'll be able to change his attitude after a life time of confrontations with company managers. "The Government has exercised poor judgement in this appointment and as a result has put Mr Morgan in an extremely difficult and compromising position," Ms Vernon said.

Background

Mr Morgan has been appointed by the Government to two organisations since the last election. Both appointments were in August 2000. They are:

* Wairarapa Health Board
* Shipping Industry Review Panel

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