Prime Minister against Ports of Auckland harbour expansion

The expansion of Auckland port into Waitemata harbour is dead in the water, if the Prime Minister has a say.

Ports of Auckland's 30-year plan includes a wharf extension, because it needs more space.

Marsden Wharf was empty today, but it's usually a carpark for imported vehicles, right on Auckland's waterfront.

So, as part of its plan, Ports of Auckland wants to remove the wharf and build a new multi-story carpark nearby, with a public park on top and a hotel in front.

It also wants to extend the Bledisloe Wharf 13 metres into the harbour.

"We are at a stage where there has been no infrastructure development on those wharves since 1983," said port CEO Tony Gibson. "We need to move fast and start planning for the future." 

The port is bursting. Pacific trade has increased 24 percent, with 300,000 cars landed last year.

But when it comes to reclaiming more of the harbour - no way says the Prime Minister.

"I have always opposed port expansion at its current site," she said.

Which is just what one of the founders of the Stop Stealing our Harbour group wants to hear.

"They are arguing they don't have enough space, but it's the wrong place for a port," said Michael Goldwater. "One hundred years ago, it was the right place - today it's not." 

The Government has agreed to New Zealand First's review of whether the Auckland Port should be moved north and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says we should wait for that.

"It doesn't make sense for Auckland to make a decision in isolation from what the region and the rest of the country needs," said Mr Goff.

Ports of Auckland acknowledges there may be a time when it gets too big for its current location.

It says it has no issue in moving, but that could take 20-30 years and it has to plan for the immediate future.


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