Joe Hendren

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Report on KOPP meeting Chch Town Hall 10 April 2006

The Keep Our Port Public meeting in Christchurch last night went well. I estimate around 250 people attended, making it the largest public meeting I have attended in Christchurch for some time.

Sir Kerry Burke spoke as a private individual and as a member of the local body community grouping Christchurch 2021. Burke said he remained committed to the vision statement of 2021 which clearly undertakes to retain public ownership and control of strategic trading enterprises, especially the port, the airport and power utilities. Garry Moore, the man who now wants to sell the port, was also elected on a 2021 ticket. Burke said "this proposal disadvantages all citizens, no matter where they come from. I wonder whether selling off is actually the best way to deal with our assets."

Burke described the move by Christchurch City Holdings (CCHL) as clumsy and said there was no need for desperate measures, as there was no 'financial crisis' (I was a little concerned at this point Burke might attempt to justify the selloffs that occurred during the forth Labour Government which Burke was part of - thankfully he didn't)

The stand out speech of the night came from Murray Horton of the Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa. His characterisation of the recent about face of the Christchurch City Council was especially well recieved

"And it looks like there will be more to come - the Council has removed both its Red Bus Company and contracting business, City Care, from the list of strategic assets to be protected. The Mayor, Garry Moore, has swung around from being the proud Chairman of the People's Republic to being the Chairman of Christchurch Inc. run, by for and of, Big Business. Actually in honour of who is actually running the show in Tuam Street, I think it should be named the corporate Republic of McTurkey."


[cue biggest laugh of the night]

Referring of course to Lesley McTurk, the City Manager appointed by Moore who has overseen a massive clearout of experienced staff at the same time many people wonder whether McTurk is really acting as an additional and unelected City councilor.

Unfortunately I didn't hear a great deal of RMTU Secretary Wayne Butson's speech as I was busy distributing petition forms around the hall.

Trevor Hansen of the Rail and Maritime Union explained how free trade agreements were assisting the shipping companies in creating 'ports of convenience' - a system that will give large shipping companies more power to drive down wages and export profits at the expense of local communities.

A 2004 issue of Transport International describes what a "port of convenience" looks like: "Inexperienced, untrained, casual non-union labour is gradually replacing skilled unionised workforces in may ports, as terminal operators succumb to pressure from shipowners, shippers and politicians to embrace fundamentalist market ideologies. Ultimately this means the introduction of many labour cost saving policies: reducing the standard of working conditions, introducing total flexibility of working times and tasks, employing unorganised workers and flying in cheap labour from countries where trade unions are forbidden or severely restricted."

Green party MP Metiria Turei explained how the sale of local assets to overseas interests has significant negative impacts on a national scale, such as our horrendous current account deficit. Metiria also found it was shocking there had been no consultation about the proposed sale. I liked her speech - probably because it had a strong focus on the privatisation issue and maintaining public ownership of strategic assets - so it came acrosss as a real lefty speech :)

A few hours before the meeting Christchurch Labour MPs (except Dalziel) released a statement expressing "serious concerns" about the proposal of the city council to sell part of the port to Hutchison. Better late than never! KOPP spokesperson Murray Horton immediately called on the MPs to translate their opposition into Government action.

While the Press reports that no-one from CCHL or LPC attended the meeting we have since found out there was a CCHL mole in attendence, who declined to make him or herself known despite a polite request from the chair. One person owned up to being on the City Council and was welcomed.

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4 Comments:

At 3:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The sooner the port is sold, the better. Then people such as yourself can stop wasting your time on this worthless campaign.

There's clearly no benefit in maintaining the port as a public asset. Unless, that is, the asset is changed to merely a coporate asset, reqired to maximise a return to the council. That, though, will still make it prone to worthless political grandstanding, of the type you describe.

The best approach will always be complete privatisation. Then, the council can get back to the job of actually providing important public services, rather than failed empire building.

Sadly, there are still many people, such as yourself, who do not care about people. Instead, you care about political grandstanding and forcing people to follow failed ideological experiments.

But, thankfully, we have democracy and people slowly learn the uselessness of your failed politics. So, with time you and your hopeless ideas disappear.

 
At 6:24 PM, Blogger Victor said...

Hey Joe - c'mon, is this a joke? This can't be for real. Are you trying to stir up debate on your own blog?

OK Anonymous. Let's get your measure.

Firstly, if you're going to resort to calling people names, then go back to the sandpit. Especially since you don't have the spine to put down a real name. I guess that is one of the drawbacks about the internet, it allows small people to act big.

Secondly, your anonymous post is filled with spelling mistakes, and a number of amazingly ridiculous – in fact stupendously ridiculous – comments. Is this really the best the hard right can contribute to the free market of ideas?

You say the best approach is always 'complete privatization' then the council can get back to the job of 'actually providing important public services'.

Well, under complete privatization, there will be no public services (roads, libraries, water, etc). Those who can afford to pay will get. Those who can't will rot in the street. And there will be no council, unless it is a privatized one, where you buy votes or something. So your entire argument is actually a nonsense.

Then you accuse people of not 'caring about people.' Presumably you do? Yet nothing you write gives any indication of this. Anyone who relies on the free market as the basis of human relations fundamentally does 'not care' because the market always comes first. And if the market decides that pet beauticians and machine guns are more in demand than food and medicine, then who are we to question the religion?

Then you say "thankfully we have democracy" when your entire post has been a series of completely negative comments that indicate that you in fact despise democracy and wish to replace it with a system of total control by a propertied elite, free from political interference (or votes, democracy, etc).

The only time that is being is wasted is yours. Now why don't you go and find about something about the maritime industry. I suggest you check out the facts about flags of convenience and maybe that will get you up to speed on what deregulated capitalism means for those who don't have your privileged and sheltered life.

Where do they come from?

 
At 6:26 PM, Blogger Victor said...

Hey Joe - c'mon, is this a joke? This can't be for real. Are you trying to stir up debate on your own blog?

OK Anonymous. Let's get your measure.

Firstly, if you're going to resort to calling people names, then go back to the sandpit. Especially since you don't have the spine to put down a real name. I guess that is one of the drawbacks about the internet, it allows small people to act big.

Secondly, your anonymous post is filled with spelling mistakes, and a number of amazingly ridiculous, in fact stupendously ridiculous, comments. Is this really the best the hard right can contribute to the free market of ideas?

You say the best approach is always 'complete privatization' then the council can get back to the job of 'actually providing important public services'.

Well, under complete privatization, there will be no public services (roads, libraries, water, etc). Those who can afford to pay will get. Those who can't will rot in the street. And there will be no council, unless it is a privatized one, where you buy votes or something. So your entire argument is actually a nonsense.

Then you accuse people of not 'caring about people.' Presumably you do? Yet nothing you write gives any indication of this. Anyone who relies on the free market as the basis of human relations fundamentally does 'not care' because the market always comes first. And if the market decides that pet beauticians and machine guns are more in demand than food and medicine, then who are we to question the religion?

Then you say "thankfully we have democracy" when your entire post has been a series of completely negative comments that indicate that you in fact despise democracy and wish to replace it with a system of total control by a propertied elite, free from political interference (or votes, democracy, etc).

The only time that is being is wasted is yours. Now why don't you go and find about something about the maritime industry. I suggest you check out the facts about flags of convenience and maybe that will get you up to speed on what deregulated capitalism means for those who don't have your privileged and sheltered life.

Where do they come from?

 
At 2:06 AM, Blogger Joe Hendren said...

Victor,

I am afraid this is an fine example of the local right. If I was going to 'stir up debate on my own blog' I hope you don't mind me saying that I would have done a far better job of it, if I had done so.

On a previous occasion here
I challenged Anon to come up with an argument to support his/her position and Anon simply responded with arrogance and more name calling, and I am afraid I get bored very quickly dealing with such people.

I think the lack of logical ability and lack of rationality of Anon, speaks for itself. It seems Anon is keen on forcing people to follow his/her own failed ideological experiments, such as mass privatisation.

If this is how our "opponents" choose to present themselves, it can't do our campaign much harm at all!

PS: Thanks for the link to the flags of convienience stuff.

 

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