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Call off wharfies' cynical strike action

Lockwood Smith
National Industrial Relations Spokesperson

17 September 2001

Call off wharfies' cynical strike action

National's Industrial Relations spokesperson Lockwood Smith is calling on the Waterfront Workers' Union to abandon its planned strike action in Auckland later this week, to prevent it further eroding New Zealand's international standing.

The watersiders have given notice of a 48-hour strike between Thursday morning and Saturday.

"This is a cynical and cold-hearted piece of timing, at a time when New Zealand must make every effort to remain credible in the eyes of our international trading partners," Lockwood Smith said today.

"The Government's failure to manage the Air New Zealand fiasco has already seen our image as a nation damaged across the Tasman, and has delayed and interrupted the carriage of air freight and passengers.

"To simultaneously block seagoing trade through the nation's largest port shows the Waterfront Workers Union is putting its own interests ahead of the nation's at a time of great jeopardy to our economy.

"With the world facing serious conflict and economic recession, we should be taking every step possible to ensure that relations with our neighbours and allies do not deteriorate any further. To close down our largest port at this time will only serve to frustrate and further distance us from those we do business with.

"The Government should talk to its unionist comrades and tell them to cancel this cynical industrial action. Australia already feels we are letting them down in terms of defence co-operation and airline services. Let's not add maritime trade to that list," Dr Smith said.


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