The Auckland Council is warning that they’re going to be in financial doo-doo because of Covid for at least four years.
There are rumours of dramatically increased water charges and rates amidst a reduction of services.
Auckland is not alone. Wellington is talking about rate rises of 23 per cent.
It’s not good. There’s a billion dollar hole in Auckland’s finances.
One of the reasons is that 60 per cent of the council’s revenue comes from Auckland Airport and City Events. That’s gone.
Blame has also gone onto declining dividends from the Ports of Auckland. But can we blame Covid for that? I don’t think so.
There are now supply chain warning all over the place in the New Zealand economy. My chemist has run out of my aftershave and says there is no sign of new supplies. There’s a 16 week wait for wallpaper to arrive. There are warnings that Christmas orders will never appear.
Covid is being blamed for the situation at our number one import port in Auckland. But how come imports are being transferred to the Bay of Plenty and Ports of Tauranga are now putting on four extra trains to ship goods to Auckland? How come Tauranga is working and Auckland isn't?
The plain truth of the matter is that Ports of Auckland is operating well below capacity and they can’t blame Covid.
The Port has been undertaking a five year automation project. Three new mega cranes appeared one day a few years ago, raising the number of cranes to eight.
Yet they’re not working. Three work during the day and two at night. That’s a third of their operating capacity.
The Port is also short 50 stevedores. Specialised positions that take extensive training. You can't find these skills overnight. There obviously hasn't been a long term employment plan.
We have a shipping company in our building and this morning I talked to some of their staff. The forthcoming supply chain shortages they put down to industrial action in Sydney and the Ports of Auckland failing at it’s core business.
None of this can be blamed on Covid. This is a five year plan that has not been implemented proficiently.
The chickens have come home to roost and it’s a tragedy that this coincides with a global pandemic.
For years Ports of Auckland have done whatever they wanted, meanwhile demanding Aucklanders cede even more of their harbour.
What we’ve got now is a Port company that is helping to ruin Christmas, hobble our economy and raise our rates. And I’ve got no aftershave.
It’s just not good enough.