Shane Jones strong-arms Ports of Auckland

Judith Collins has rightfully come out against Shane Jones, who is once again interfering in business matters. This time, his target is Ports of Auckland.?A newspaper?reports: quote.

National MP Judith Collins says Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones should stay out of the Ports of Auckland’s plans for a five-level waterfront carparking block and accused him of “strong-arming” business.

After Jones this morning announced he was seeking advice from officials on what the Government could do to stop the port’s plans, Collins indicated he should butt out of business affairs. end quote.

Quite right. Ports of Auckland are not government owned. No minister has the right to interfere with their plans. They will go through all the normal consent and planning processes (which will probably take years) and at the end of it, they will build their carpark… or not, depending on how the process goes. There is enough interference in the process already, without Shane Jones sticking his oar in. quote.

“This is reckless behaviour from a minister,” Collins said. “Business needs to know that it can operate independently in the best commercial interests, without being caught up in political games. This is exactly the reason why businesses have no trust in this Government and its economic management.” end quote.

Dead right. Business has had enough blindsides from this government already, and there are over 100 working groups who have yet to deliver their verdict on a number of issues that will affect business. And they wonder why business confidence is going through the floor. quote.

Jones said the port occupied “grossly subsidised land and it’s no wonder Auckland rates are so high because ratepayers are subsidising the port to be on that land. This carpark makes a mockery of all the plans to beautify and modernise Auckland as an international destination. To put a six-level carparking building on grossly subsidised land … as an NZ First MP and a member of Cabinet, I find that grossly offensive.”

Collins, National’s infrastructure spokesperson responded, saying the minister “must cease meddling in the operations of the port and allow it to make commercial decisions free of political interference.”

“Mr Jones says he is seeking advice on whether the Government can stop the council-owned company from building a multi-level waterfront car handling facility because NZ First wants to relocate the port to Marsden Point. This is reckless behaviour,” Collins said. end quote.

She’s right about that too. NZ First wants to relocate most of the Ports of Auckland’s operations, even though they have absolutely no say in the matter. quote.

She cited an NZIER report released last September which found the costs of moving the vehicle processing facilities away from Auckland would outweigh the benefits by $1b, and result in the loss or about 10,000 jobs. end quote.

I wish Shane Jones would use his talents to get on with the work he is supposed to be doing, such as planting 1 billion trees, and distributing the Provincial Growth Fund appropriately. For some reason, he seems to think that he can treat businesses like his own plaything, to beat about the head at will. This government behaves as if it has full control over everything. But hey – that is exactly what all good communists governments do, isn’t it?