The Herald reports:
Auckland mayoral candidate Vic Crone is promising to look at relocating the city’s port, saying its current downtown location is obsolete.
The port, she says, will be unable to keep up with the growth of Auckland in the next 50 years unless is expands further into the harbour.
“The community has spoken loudly and clearly,” Ms Crone said in a speech to the Committee for Auckland today.
“As mayor I will commit to leading a robust decision-making process to seek out a new home and transition our port there.”
A Future Port Study set up after last year’s public furore over wharf extensions into the harbour by Ports of Auckland is currently underway to look at the economic, social and environmental impacts of the port on the wider city.
The study has short-listed the Manukau Harbour, Firth of Thames and Muriwai as possible options for a new port.
Ms Crone said ports were a critical piece of infrastructure for any major city, but questioned the economic value of its 77ha footprint and its dividends with the economic return of similar land in the Viaduct Harbour and Wynyard Quarter.
Arguably the most expensive and valuable land in Auckland is being used as a huge car park. It’s madness. The short terms costs of moving are considerable, but the long-term costs of not moving are greater.
“By 2040 the Wynyard Quarter waterfront redevelopment is expected to contribute $4.3 billion to Auckland. The Auckland port dividend of around $50 million pales in comparison,” Ms Crone said.
Once a new home was found for the port, she said, the city could turn its mind to the exciting possibilities of transforming the largest piece of land on the waterfront, not just economically but socially.
Ms Crone’s port policy is similar to her main political rival, Labour MP Phil Goff, who opposes further expansion into the Waitemata Harbour for port use.
Goff has said he does not support expansion but has not said he supports moving it.
On mayoral politics, there is also a good interview with Mark Thomas on The Spinoff.