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Reduction of Maserk Line port calls

25 August 2006

Govt must take position on reduction of Maserk Line port calls:

Maritime Union
Maersk must come clean about its plans to dramatically reduce the number of its New Zealand ports of call, the Maritime Union of New Zealand (MUNZ) said today.

Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson said a proposed reduction from 9 ports to 5 would have a dramatic impact on 4 ports and the local economies they service.

The Maritime Union today strongly backed the concerns raised yesterday by NZ First about the impact of the Maersk Line action and called on the NZ Government to take a position on the issue.

“Like many other New Zealanders who live in uncertainty about their jobs because of the competitive nature of today’s business environment, our membership have given their absolute best performance to port and shipping reform,” Mr Hanson said.

“They are dismayed with the attitude and arrogance shown by Tony Gibson managing director of Maersk in indicating the decisions could be made by the ‘toss of a coin.

“Has NZ arrived at the position where overseas companies can hold NZ Ports, NZ citizens, regions, businesses, farmers, importers and exporters to ransom?” Mr Hanson said.

“While the company may feel it has every right to act in a commercial manner, the social and economic damage to some port communities and regional areas would be considerable.

“The Government may prefer to keep a hands off approach to this serious issue, but to do so will cause many regions and their workers significant stress.

“There is an absolute need for NZ to ensure that its transport and regional structures are well planned and developed so as to benefit New Zealand as a whole. Not on an ad hoc basis at the behest of foreign owned companies that will cost NZ taxpayers for fix ups in the future,” he said.

The Maritime Union will take directions from its branches and membership on the issue next week.

ENDS

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