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Source: Maritime Union of New Zealand

The Maritime Union has described a massive payout to the former CEO of Ports of Auckland as “unreal” and an insult to port workers, Auckland ratepayers, and the families of those who have died at Ports of Auckland.

Tony Gibson resigned from his position as CEO at POAL in June 2021, following several deaths at POAL, poor financial performance, and an automation project that has run years late.

An independent report released earlier this year into health and safety at POAL identified systemic problems, and Port management faced heavy criticism from the port’s owners Auckland Council, and the Government.

The POAL annual report shows an unnamed top earning executive was paid between $1.78m and $1.79m in the year to June 30.

In the previous financial year he was paid $820,000.

The Ports of Auckland Limited and Tony Gibson are now both facing charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 filed by Government agency Maritime New Zealand following the death of a stevedore in August 2020.

Maritime Union of New Zealand National Secretary Craig Harrison says the payout is incredible in the circumstances.

Mr Harrison says the “million dollar question” is how this was an appropriate decision.

“This is ratepayers money that has been handed to someone who is about to appear in Court on health and safety charges around the death of a worker.”

He says the payout shows a corporate culture of impunity where senior managers are handed unreal amounts of cash even when they have failed in their roles.

Mr Harrison says workers who make one off errors at work often face the loss of their job and severe hardship, not million dollar golden parachutes.

He says many New Zealanders are growing angry at double standards.

Mr Harrison says the Union is committed to a constructive relationship with new port management if they respected their workforce.