Having a stake makes a difference

March 8, 2012

TV3 reckons Port of Tauranga gets it right:

Throughout the Auckland dispute, the Port Of Tauranga has been held up as an  example of how Auckland could operate – profits are at a record high, and the  port seems to have a contented workforce which gets the job done quickly and  efficiently.

One of the major differences between the two port companies is ownership.

David Hone has worked at the port for 18 years and, like 90 percent of  employees, is a shareholder in the company.

He says “working in a place that you’re part owner [of]” means he’s more  invested in the success of the business.

It’s one of the key reasons the port is so successful, according to chief  executive Mark Cairns.

“If you have a stake in a company your behaviour changes when you’re an  employee,” he says.

Because Ports of Auckland is owned by the city’s ratepayers it can’t be  floated.

This is a successful company in which most of the workers have a stake – and one in which the percentage of local ownership has increased since it was floated.

During question Time on Tuesday Prime Minister John Key said:

 Interestingly enough, Port of Tauranga, back in April 2008, had 66.5 percent of its shares owned by New Zealanders; today it is 70 percent.

Floating the company has been good for it, its shareholders, most of whom are New Zealanders and among whom are almost all its staff, and it’s also been good for those who use the port.

There should be similar benefits for businesses and shareholders from the partial sale of energy companies proposed under the government’s Mixed Ownership Model.


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