Waitemata Harbour

April 18th, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald editorial:

Council should give clear message to port company The Auckland port company is proving very slow to get a simple message: the Waitemata is not to be narrowed. The harbour is still wide enough between the wharves and Devonport to retain its visual splendour but it is not so wide that it can continue to accommodate wharf extensions without losing much  its expansive character.

If the city is not very careful it could discover, too late, that yet another incremental reclamation (one is already underway) has reduced the harbour entrance to a shipping channel and Auckland, quite suddenly, is less scenic.

How hard can it be for the port company to understand this? Having failed to get extended reclamations written into the Auckland Council’s 30-year plan last year, the company has come back this year trying to get a smaller extension written into the council’s 10-year unitary plan.

But really the council is to blame. Instead of giving its wholly owned company a clear message the first time around that no further encroachment on the Waitemata can be contemplated, the council prevaricated. It promised to review a range of development options for the port.

I feel sorry for the current management. It is not their fault they have inherited the Port on the location it is in. But my view is that their current location is an awful place for a commercial port, as is Wellington’s Centreport location. The power of the status quo may mean that it is never economic to move them, but the reality is that trying to expand on their current locations is just a very bad idea.

Auckland’s port serves the country’s largest population centre. It is hardly going to disappear if its wharves are not long enough for the next generation of cargo ships. If those ships went instead to Marsden Pt or Tauranga fewer containers would be hauled into the city. But if Ports of Auckland wants to accommodate bigger ships it must find room within its present area. The council should say so.

I agree.


10 Responses to “Waitemata Harbour”

  1. mandk (968 comments) says:

    Centreport activities could migrate gradually towards Ngauranga, and I think this might be part of the longer term vision already.
    But Auckland really needs to relocate its port activities altogether if the city wants to make the most of its waterfront.
    The immediate question that struck me when I first went to the Auckland waterfront from the CBD was: “why do they want to have a tank farm and container terminal there?”

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  2. unaha-closp (1,158 comments) says:

    Actually, its a pretty good place for a port. It is non-tidal, deepwater and on an isthmus – it is almost perfect.

    The problem is Central Auckland is a really bad place for a large city. The skinniest part of a isthmus is no place to have the centre of a large city – a lack of land space causes congestion.

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  3. wiseowl (869 comments) says:

    This is an argument that gets right up my nose.
    Its not the only Port in New Zealand that is now the subject of continued attack.
    The fact is these ports were there first.I know that is simplistic but its a fact,They have been an integral part of the economy,the export industry and employment.Cities grew around them for obvious reasons(well to some that is)

    Now we have the progressives that come along and decide that they don’t look that good.Tanks for goodness sake.Maybe they contain bitumen that is used to build our roads and is imported.How crass! What a place for tanks.
    And trucks for goodness sake.We just do not need trucks anywhere near the city.I mean they are big and awful creatures. Lets get rid of them too.

    To hell with imports and exports.Ports look awful.Get rid of them.Out of sight out of mind.

    How bloody shallow some people are.

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  4. DeepScience (48 comments) says:

    But the reality is that trying to expand on their current locations is just a very good idea. Stuff the yuppies and egg rolls. You do realise that the Thames is a working river with effectively one long dock down each side?

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  5. exile (34 comments) says:

    The Thames has virtually no docks through London, and it hasn’t for a long time. The last of it shut in the early 80’s, apart from a couple of locations for loading garbage and roading materials/construction fill. The move to containerisation meant that a new port was constructed downstream at Tilbury, along with dedicated rail links. Since then, the port has expanded, but none of it is in metropolitan London. The former ‘docklands’ is now a major business centre, and all the former warehouses are luxury loft apartments.

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  6. Kea (12,380 comments) says:

    It maybe time to demolish a few apartments and shops to accommodate shipping containers and fish guts. All the things that belong around a port.

    Of course if Auckland does not want shipping, then we can remove the port buildings all together and tear up the Wharf. Then it will be nice and scenic for the Aucklanders. Plenty of other towns would be happy to have the business and put a nice big mark up on every thing as they send it off to Auckland markets.

    Same with those noisy planes and ugly airport buildings. We can bulldoze that and make it into a park or something. I am sure another town would like to host an international airport.

    My plan is brilliant and gives everyone what they want !

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  7. Steve (North Shore) (4,546 comments) says:

    Auckland is a Port and will stay a Port. The Socialist corksoakers who want to make the Auckland waterfront a place for pisspots and fatarsed foodies can fuck off. Go and do your drinking and nosebagging in a place that does not need trade by ships importing.
    FFS the ships have to make land contact somewhere

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  8. greenjacket (459 comments) says:

    “Visual splendour?” WTF? With the advent of new generation container ships, NZ will have one hub port – and that is Waitemata harbour, for the simple reason that there is nowhere else.
    I’m an ex-sailor. Tauranga is far too narrow at the heads and the basin is way too small to accomodate the new generation of container ships. Marsden Point can take oil tankers but I have no idea where you’d be able to dock one of the newer generation ships.
    Sorry DPF, but Waitemata harbour is the only harbour that has the size and depth to take the new generation of container ships.

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  9. DeepScience (48 comments) says:

    mmm, well I saw boats unloading all the way along so I don’t know

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  10. Mark (1,479 comments) says:

    Sorry DPF, but Waitemata harbour is the only harbour that has the size and depth to take the new generation of container ships.

    GJ, no it doesn’t it will need to be dredged like the rest of them. and NZ is highly unlikely to have a 1 port hub in Auckland.

    Auckland and Wellington are port cities, that is why they are where they are FFS. DPF if the Auckland port and the Wellington ports were not where they are the cities would not exist there either so I simply do not get your point about them being in an awful place

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