Ports of Auckland: still totally not arrogant

Oh my god. I thought Chevron’s condescending “We Agree” ad campaign was the peak of companies-talking-down-to-people-and-ignoring-the-actual-criticisms-levelled-against-them. But Ports of Auckland – whose CEO Tony Gibson was protesting only days ago “aren’t arrogant as a company” – have blown that one right, if you’ll pardon the phrase, out of the water.

As tweeted by Deborah Pead:

poal arrogant

“The big drill came in big pieces on a big boat.” If you can read that out loud without doing a Suzy Cato impression, I’ll be very impressed.

The point of this kind of PR fluff is to make people feel good about the company – so you’ll forget the fact that they’ve tried to force their workers onto individual contracts and tried to sneak through extensions to the wharf which narrow the harbour and block the view from Queen’s Wharf – which is now an important public space that Ports of Auckland were paid $40 million for.

As an Aucklander-turned-Wellingtonian, I cannot emphasise enough what a difference having an open, public, walkable waterfront makes to the quality of life in a CBD.

And as a communications professional, I’m gobsmacked that POAL thinks talking down to Aucklanders like they’re toddlers is a good way to rebuild their reputation.

QOTD: Supreme hubris from POAL CEO Tony Gibson

On Q&A yesterday, Ports of Auckland CEO Tony Gibson said regarding their planned – and thoroughly rebuffed by the community – wharf extensions:

“I don’t think we’re arrogant as a company. That’s not part of our values. I think we’ve really engaged with the public”

The first two sentences are outright falsehoods, and the third only makes sense in a world where “engaged with” means “leaked confidential information to” and “the public” means “Cameron Slater.”

And yes, Tony Gibson was the CEO of Ports of Auckland during the 2012 lockout of its workers, in a hamfisted attempt to force its workers to become contractors, degrade their pay and conditions, run out the clock on their collective agreement, and possibly even open the Port up for privatisation.

And if you want to talk about arrogance – how about the arrogance of a company which spent $33 million to lock out its workers and attempt to break the union, an unnecessary waste of money which put POAL’s books in the red?

If none of that meets Tony Gibson’s personal definition of “arrogance”, I’d hate to see what did.