A port at Wiri?

June 2nd, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

As the  seeks public feedback on its controversial container port expansion plans, an alternative proposal has emerged for a site on the other side of Auckland.

The promoters of a container port on the Manukau Harbour in the South Auckland area of Wiri claim several potential advantages to the Ports of Auckland (POAL) reclamation in the Waitemata Harbour. These include less pressure on Auckland’s transport infrastructure, significant sea-transport savings of around $150,000 a voyage and estimated savings on container movement costs of $70 a TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units – the standard container size).

The promoters of the alternative port – ports and shipping consultant Mark Oxley, former P&O NZ chief executive Mick Payze and former Maritime New Zealand chief executive Russell Kilvington – have conducted preliminary investigations over the past couple of years but are seeking a backer to fund the estimated $250,000 to take the proposal to the next step of a full feasibility and economic study.

Waterfronts historically have been industrial and commercial areas. But as CBDs have become places where people live and play, they are far better suited for hospitality, retail and open park areas.

So I’m all for moving ports away from CBDs to industrial areas like Manukau Harbour. Of course this should only happen if it can make economic sense. But ports need to grow, as the economy grows, and they won’t be able to do so in locations where they are competing with the public.

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52 Responses to “A port at Wiri?”

  1. DeepScience (48 comments) says:

    Please, do you know nothing about Auckland harbours? Why do you want to turn Auckland into Wellington? Do you know what the rest of the country thinks of Wellington (with the exception of Weta)? We need a working city that makes money.

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  2. thedavincimode (6,759 comments) says:

    *scratching head font* Want to run that past us again?

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  3. Nostalgia-NZ (5,211 comments) says:

    Yes, I’m interested in how the natural restrictions on the Manukau and the lack of industrial space would be overcome, the existing port there is about the size of the corner dairy.

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  4. tvb (4,422 comments) says:

    If the Wiri option is feasible hopefully they will move out of the CBD altogether. The land in the CBD must be very valuable. Working city my foot. Get the f out of the CBD.

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  5. Seán (397 comments) says:

    Surely there will be restrictions on ship size cosnsidering Manukau isn’t exactly a deep water harbour.

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  6. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    I’m guessing a large part of a feasibility study would be looking at how much dredging would be required and what could be done to improve access across the bar.

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  7. thedavincimode (6,759 comments) says:

    I imagine bar access is less of an issue nowadays since the pub was cut off by the airport motorway milky.

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  8. davidp (3,581 comments) says:

    The current Auckland port is sitting on about $5billion worth of real estate, and returns about 1% a year. There is a perfectly good port at Tauranga. The country really only needs one international container port, with containers transferred to coastal shipping to the rest of the country. Make Tauranga the international container port and just close Auckland… it isn’t needed.

    Under this plan, primary industry products (such as logs) wouldn’t transit Tauranga. But you shouldn’t be hauling those in from the provinces to Auckland CBD. You’d also continue to operate Marsden Point for liquid fuels.

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  9. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    I’m sure I’ve seen some reasonable-sized ships tied up at the cement terminal by the Mangere bridge… there must be some sort of navigation channel thru the mudflats already?

    Anyway they were talking about moving a LOT of dirt to expand the POAL site in the Waitemata harbour. So presumably they could move a bit of dirt for a new Wiri port and have it still stack up?

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  10. toms (299 comments) says:

    Good luck getting Iwi to agree to basically the destruction of the entire Manakau harbour ecosystem to develop a port.

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  11. contheneo (27 comments) says:

    RRM. With all due respect, the ships that tie up at Manukau are not ‘reasonable size’. They are very small coastal ships. The sort of ships that would need to use this proposed port are 10s of times larger. We are talking ships that can take 1000s of TEUs, as opposed to the ones you have seen that could probably take 100, if they were lucky.

    I have just been talking with my father who has 28 years experience at sea, plus a number of years experience in marine cargo operations and cargo surveying, and he says it is unlikely to happen. The costs of maintaining the channel and the costs of building and maintaining a 10km break water will stop it. Plus it will take 10 years to build if they started now. It is a nice idea, bur it won’t happen.

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  12. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    DPF and milky (I’ve now got a job and don’t spend all day on Kiwiblog)Mild.

    Visit Auckland before you make total prats of your selves.

    You can dredge the Manukau 365 days a year and the big container ships would never get into the Manukau.

    There is already an inland port at Wiri. http://www.conlinxx.co.nz/news.php?pa=story&id=20

    Just come back from the Auckland waterfront, I estimate even with the inefficencies of the wharfies we will need another 83,000 cafes working 24 hours a day to justify getting rid of the container terminal in the city.

    Auckland is not Wellington, Auckland is quite big.

    I have had a couple of dealings with Russel Kilvington professionally – hopefully no one is silly enough to waste 250 k on a feasibility study that is unfeasible.

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  13. Gerrit (107 comments) says:

    Milburn Express — Cement Carrier — Gross Tonnage 8000 Tons
    CMG Jules Verne — Container Ship– Gross Tonnage 153.000 Tons

    To dreg to allow for 150K + tonnage ships would need to be at least 200 metres wide (ships are 60metres wide) and 22 metres deep absolute minimum.

    Then the ships need a turning circle at least 500 metres larger then the ship Ship is 400 metres long so that a turning circle needs to be dredged of an absolute minimul 1 km radius and 22 metres deep.

    With that volume of dredging you could reclaim the Manukau Harbour from Clarks beach to the Airport and have plenty of space available for cheap housing -;)

    People really need to engage their brain (or preferable an engineer) before making suggestions.

    Would be far far easier and cheaper to upgrade NorthPort and the NAL rail line. Ship containers from there. New Zealand wide container distribution and collection by rail and coastal shipping.

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  14. Whaleoil (767 comments) says:

    A post only an Wellingtonian could write. David, Manukau harbour is highly tidal, would need literally hundreds of millions of dollars of dredging to even get it near to serviceable for even the smallest of container ships.

    You really should stick to writing poor car reviews, arts reviews and fitness posts and refrains from blogging about things you know fuck all about.

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  15. Whaleoil (767 comments) says:

    This is the area that is spoken of…at low tide it is just mud…

    http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/wiri.png

    The dock at Onehunga is quite a bit away from Wiri.

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  16. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    And yet supposedly serious people are considering a feasibility study when they could have just consulted a local whale…

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  17. Whaleoil (767 comments) says:

    “The harbour has a water surface area of 394 square kilometres. There is a tidal variation of up to 4 metres, a very substantial change, especially since the harbour, being silted up with almost 10 million years of sedimentation, is rather shallow itself.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manukau_Harbour

    Who are the idiots that are proposing this stupidity?

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  18. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Who are the idiots that are proposing this stupidity?

    former P&O NZ chief executive Mick Payze and former Maritime New Zealand chief executive Russell Kilvington –

    Two people looking for some idiot to fund their income.

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  19. s.russell (1,642 comments) says:

    I have often read that New Zealand needs fewer ports, not more. And that the key problem in developing port infrastructure is allowing for the new super-enormous container ships that are now being built.

    So a port at Wiri faces two obvious problems: a) it does not seem a suitable area for a really big port that can handle really big ships. And b) duplicating infrastructure and missing out on economies of scale makes poor economic sense.

    However I can see one possibility that MIGHT make sense (I don’t claim expertise in this area):
    a) build a small-medium-sized port at Wiri to REPLACE the existing port and service small-medium ships (esp on the trans-Tasman route) that are taking goods to/from Auckland itself
    b) turn Tauranga into the mega-port, handling the big stuff – especially trans-Pacific traffic.

    The cost of the new Wiri port would be more than covered by selling the existing port. Auckland could have a decent port but keep the CBD waterfront for people, and we get a mega-port with good transport links to the whole NI without further gunging up Auckland roads.

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  20. toms (299 comments) says:

    As engineers say, nothing is impossible, but plenty of stuff is inadvisable or unaffordable. A harbour at Wiri would involve basically dredging a gigantic fuck-off shipping canal from the Manakau heads to the Papakura inlet. Ships would then have to navigate into this canal and scoot along to the new wharf. Given the stellar navigational skills displayed by the crew of the MV Rena is pretty much the norm, I would expect to see a procession of groundings along the dredged channel or worse an number of dusky seamen greeting the crew and passengers of the Orpheus on the un-dredged bar. The amount of mud to be shifted – much of it in all probability polluted – would be vast. Maori would be most unimpressed. If you want a West Coast port for Auckland you’d be better building your 10km groyne/breakwater at Port Waikato and developing a new port there, as a site it is no worse (with emphasis on worse) than Wiri.

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  21. Wayne Mapp (67 comments) says:

    David, as a number of commenters note, the Manukau is totally unsuitable for a major container port, it aint going to happen.

    More seriously the container port where it is now will be OK for at least the next 50 years. Auckland will take two decades to fully utilize Wynard point. And then we have got Cook and Marsden wharves- look at how difficult it is now to properly use Queens wharf. The current plan is to have a public space from Cook right through to Westhaven at the Harbour bridge- that is about 6 k direct, and probably 7 to 8 k of actual waterfront.

    So a container port, essentially restricted to Bledisloe and Fergusson wharves, will work well for the city, and frankly does not restrict access to the waterfront and harbour. What does need to happen is to sort out the road access to the container terminal so that large container trucks are not travelling through city streets. It is only a 2 k problem, but that is annoying enough.

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  22. toms (299 comments) says:

    The best solution for the port of Auckland is to move from it’s current site – when the port was established in it’s current location Auckland was a small settlement with a port on it’s eastern edge. Now the port occupies prime real estate slap bang at the bottom of the CBD. I have always considered either Marsden point with an upgraded rail link to Auckland or a new port at Maraetai are the best options.

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  23. Ed Snack (1,873 comments) says:

    Worth considering that Tauranga has significant limitations as a port as well, it is probably not suitable for the sole North Island Port. People have been looking at options to construct a West Coast port in NZ for many years, unfortunately because of the marine environment there is no suitable site unless one is built at enormous expense, and I mean truly enormous. All the harbour entries on the West Coast are strongly affected by the west coast current and the movement of sand. For those familiar with the Manukau entrance, the large sand accumulation on the northern side of the entrance is a very recent addition, around 150-200 years ago the sea was nearly at the cliff face in that area.

    Not only would dredging a suitable entrance by hideously expensive, it would also require continuos significant maintenance in an active marine environment. Simply ain’t going to happen, it would be a multi-billion project with huge ongoing costs.

    Sort out the access to the current port is probably by far the simplest solution. Moving to Marsden Point is an option, but the Rail north is a problem as is general access.

    For once, whale is quite right.

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  24. Johnboy (16,597 comments) says:

    Fuckin Jaffa’s!!!

    Just as I was about to put my case for a post panamax container port at the Basin Reserve before our progressive Mayor Celia! :)

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  25. simpleton1 (228 comments) says:

    If Manukau is even to be considered and even then I would be doubtful considering the bar itself, then to perhaps to get some workable depth and area for ships to navigate, the only place is near Puponga Point which is not really that workable land side, or on the south side is Mako Point and being more of a green field area, but more of a long way around to come off the Waiuku Peninsula.
    In these places the swell may still have quite an effect when tied to a wharf.

    Gisborne has enough troubles with boats tied up to wharves when there is a storm off their coast.

    What lies below the mud sedimentation, and after the easy dredging are there costly rocks.

    Still a major issue are the tidal currents, which can help but also complicate steerage and more likely cause major delays for shipping.
    Weather and tidal flows even with a major break water, plus being on the wild west coast where surf breaking waves build up, that even the nimble trawler boats surf on at great risk with skilled skippers that occasionally have turn back in rough seas. And some times they also graze the bottom coming in.

    Have these advisors played on a beach building sand castles, moats and drains and realize just what nature can shift in just one storm that the West Coast is so infamous for.

    A couple of hundred dollars worth of time would soon collate facts with peoples experiences to this grandiosity. Ok may be a grand or 2 at most.

    Follow the money and build sand castles on the beach I think.

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  26. Johnboy (16,597 comments) says:

    Surely the wreck of the Orpheus (our worst sea disaster) is a war grave and cannot be dredged? :)

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  27. Johnboy (16,597 comments) says:

    Oh sorry. I forgot.

    She isn’t the last resting place off iwi and hence isn’t “Sacred” so we can dig her out if she’s in the way of progress! :)

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  28. KevinH (1,227 comments) says:

    Most commentators on this thread have got it right, the Manukau Harbour is unsuitable for large scale shipping because of the dangerous bar, shallowness requiring constant ongoing dredging, and the lack of infrastructure on that side of the city.
    Marsden Point is available now and is ready to go, it takes a change in mindset and the influence of central government to make this a reality.

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  29. Camryn (543 comments) says:

    Agree that Marsden is the way to go. It’s a shorter journey for overseas ships, has room for more wharves and onshore (and the port company already owns that land), cheap labour / an economy that needs jobs, etc. All it needs is container facilities and a rail spur + upgraded NAL line (mostly the tunnels). Then both Marsden and Tauranga can be a mix of containers and commodities so that no commodities need go through Auckland and there’s competition on the container side (although POAL and Tauranga both own decent chuncks of NorthPort). The rail upgrade would naturally benefit more than just the port + the whole thing makes the motorway to Whangarei that much more economically sensible. All-in-all, Auckland is developing “orbiting moons” in the forms of Tauranga. Hamilton and Whangarei. There’s plenty of room for the latter to triple in population (to the south, around Marsden) and take some pressure off Auckland if that’s something we want. Either way, it all starts with the port.

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  30. OneTrack (3,107 comments) says:

    “Marsden Point is available now and is ready to go, it takes a change in mindset and the influence of central government to make this a reality.”

    And a significant (public?) expenditure to upgrade the rail link to Auckland (or will we just have State Highway 1 permanently blocked by big trucks) . Not to forget the increase in costs due to the truck and rail segment, or the additional delays involved (rail).

    Isn’t there something called Global Warming or Climate Change ™ that we are supposed to be worried about which means we are supposed to reduce our use of fossil fuels? So adding infrastructure costs, ongoing costs, diesel usage, delays and CO2 to the atmosphere for everything coming in to Auckland, just so we have somewhere to have a new park (or more likely apartment buildings), doesn’t sound like a brilliant idea to me.

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  31. mandk (993 comments) says:

    A better use for Manukau harbour would be to polderise it to create all the housing land that Auckland needs. A couple of Dutch hydraulic engineers would sort it out in no time :-)

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  32. mandk (993 comments) says:

    Johnboy @ 1.52
    The Orpheus went down in 1863. How is the wreck a war grave?

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  33. Johnboy (16,597 comments) says:

    “The New Zealand Wars, sometimes called the Land Wars and also once called the Māori Wars, were a series of armed conflicts that took place in New Zealand between 1845 and 1872″

    :)

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  34. Johnboy (16,597 comments) says:

    “and also once called the Māori Wars”

    Really love that PC bit!!!!!! :)

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  35. Kea (12,841 comments) says:

    Do you know what the rest of the country thinks of Wellington (with the exception of Weta)?

    Most people seem to like Welly, unlike Auckland. I can tell you what overseas visitors think of Auckland. They hate the place and find it a boring low-class area. Promoting Auckland as a tourist destination has done enormous harm to our tourist industry.

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  36. Johnboy (16,597 comments) says:

    Bloody place is fulla Chinks too…ask Winnie! :)

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  37. Kea (12,841 comments) says:

    Johnboy, I like Auckland and Chink girls too. But Auckland has nothing for tourists or visitors.

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  38. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    I can tell you what overseas visitors think of Auckland. They hate the place and find it a boring low-class area.

    Utter tosh.

    Writing massively generalised and incorrect shit like that will however get you a job writing press releases for Captain Mumble Fuck or The Aussie

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  39. Johnboy (16,597 comments) says:

    “But Auckland has nothing for tourists or visitors.”

    True. They should all come to the “Coolest Little Capital” in the world once we have knocked one last cyclist off her perch! :)

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  40. Odakyu-sen (655 comments) says:

    “A better use for Manukau harbour would be to polderise it to create all the housing land that Auckland needs. A couple of Dutch hydraulic engineers would sort it out in no time.”

    Good idea. Dam the mouth between Cornwallis and Big Bay. Have canals to channel the rainfall runoff to supply Auckland with water. Would solve all Auckland’s land problems. (Mind you, the dam would be a bit of a terrorist target….)

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  41. Kea (12,841 comments) says:

    Pauleastbay, sorry mate but it is true. They are pretty careful who they say it to though. A one eyed Aucklander like you will never hear it. European tourists seem to dislike it the most.

    No use ranting at me, I actually like it there :)

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  42. Johnboy (16,597 comments) says:

    “Good idea. Dam the mouth between Cornwallis and Big Bay. Have canals to channel the rainfall runoff to supply Auckland with water. Would solve all Auckland’s land problems. (Mind you, the dam would be a bit of a terrorist target….)

    But where would all your Jaffa shit run off to Odakyu-sen?

    Ah…Wait a minute little grasshopper…..I like your plan….! ! :) :)

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  43. Odakyu-sen (655 comments) says:

    “But where would all your Jaffa shit run off to Odakyu-sen?”

    Don’t knock it. Auckland would need all the solid (or not-so-solid) fill it could lay its hands on for such a project.. ;-)

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  44. Johnboy (16,597 comments) says:

    And AKL could extend its runway on shit to at least 10,000m to take the largest future aircraft ever envisaged in the minds of man!

    Just picture it…… Shit loads of shit seriously large planes alighting on the biggest pile of shit in New Zealand delivering shit loads of shit bags with shit loads of cash to the shithole that is Len’s dream!!!! :)

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  45. Kea (12,841 comments) says:

    I have to say the plan is not a good one. Shallow muddy estuaries are not the place for container ships. Many traditional ports already struggle with the new massive container ships, from what I hear. A new port would need to have the capacity for all current and long term future ships.

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  46. Odakyu-sen (655 comments) says:

    Shit loads of shit seriously large planes alighting on the biggest pile of shit in New Zealand delivering shit loads of shit bags with shit loads of cash to the shithole that is Len’s dream!!!!

    John Ray expressed the notion in A collection of English proverbs, 1678:
    “Muck and money go together.”

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  47. OneTrack (3,107 comments) says:

    ““But Auckland has nothing for tourists or visitors.”

    That is so true.

    All they have to do in Auckland is things like:

    Museum
    Motat
    Viaduct Harbour
    Wynyard Quarter
    Harbour Bridge walk and bungie
    Sky Tower
    Sky City Casino
    Mission Bay and beach
    Devonport
    Botanical Gardens
    Zoo
    Americas Cup class yacht rides on the harbour
    Walk up Rangitoto
    Day trip to Waiheke Island
    Rainbows End amusement park
    Mt Eden
    Takapuna, Long Bay, Piha, Muriwai, Orewa Beaches
    Easy travel to Rotorua, Tauranga, Coromandel, ….

    Yep, Wellington is much better for tourists.

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  48. thedavincimode (6,759 comments) says:

    What is all this rubbish about dredging? All they need to do is raise the height of the wharf and when the polar ice caps have finished melting it will be all good.

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  49. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    and

    a two hour drive to world class game fishing (try that from Wyoming)

    a one hour drive to shoot a deer at Woodhill

    and then stop at several wineries on the way home

    and then go to Goat island and a horse ride on Pakari beach

    then have a surf at one of the West Coast beaches

    or go fishing on the Kaipari if the fishing on the Waitamata is slow

    go drive a V8 at Hampton Downs

    the races at Ellerslie

    or 1st class rugby at Eden Park

    or the fact that internationally Auckland hotels are very cheap.

    You are right One Track , there is bugger all to do here, shame really

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  50. Johnboy (16,597 comments) says:

    You forgot….”Into town for a quick trip around the world at Mr Chow’s knocking shop” PEB! :)

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  51. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    exactly JB

    One on every floor, like trying to drink the fence at the Orewa trust

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  52. berend (1,709 comments) says:

    DPF:So I’m all for moving ports away from CBDs to industrial areas like Manukau Harbour.

    I’m absolutely opposed. Auckland is a place where people work. People in Wellington can stroll along their harbour, but Auckland would be the worse for it if we no longer see people working, and if our harbours are no longer areas of busy commercial activity.

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