7 Mar 2012

Auckland Mayor defends his handling of port dispute

8:15 pm on 7 March 2012

Auckland Mayor Len Brown is defending his handling of the Ports of Auckland industrial dispute, in the face of criticism he has forgotten the interests of working families.

The port company on Wednesday confirmed it is going ahead with plans to make nearly 300 stevedores redundant, and contract out their roles.

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman says sacking the wharfies is disgraceful, and the mayor should have done more to resolve the dispute.

He says Mr Brown has not acted in the best interests of the people of Auckland.

The Labour Party too says the council and the mayor should now step in.

But Mr Brown says it is not his role to intervene in the employment dispute at the port.

He says his powers to intervene are severely limited by legislation surrounding the port.

Mr Brown says he has a strong sentiment for the working class people, but he has a broader responsibility as the mayor of all Auckland.

He says he wants the port to deliver good commercial returns.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister John Key said on Wednesday the Government would not intervene in the dispute as it is a matter for Ports of Auckland and the union.