Importer calls on government to sort out port delays

Containers are sitting on the Port of Tauranga dock for up to two weeks because KiwiRail isn't moving them in time. 

A wine importer whose stock is sitting idle is calling on the central government to sort out the delays. 

Scott Gray has been bringing wine and cheese in from France for more than two decades. In that time he's never faced such problems at our ports. 

"I don't think we should have to put up with that sort of thing."

He says containers of his wine are sitting on Port of Tauranga's dock and waiting there for at least two weeks to be moved to Auckland by KiwiRail - a government-owned entity.

"I just don't think that's acceptable."

He's complained to the Ministers of Transport and State-Owned Enterprises but hasn't heard back. 

"If they were playing for the Black Caps, they'd be standing on the boundary wearing dark glasses and with their backs to the pitch, they're missing in action." 

Transport Minister Michael Wood told Newshub he is in fact in action - he met with port bosses just last week who also raised "some issues".

"They're keen to see KiwiRail's capacity increased as much as possible, and that's something that I'll be discussing with KiwiRail who I'm meeting over the coming week."

KiwiRail's boss told Newshub it's already "currently providing more trains per week than it's contracted to run", taking freight from Tauranga to Auckland. 

The Ports of Auckland has issues of its own. It's still forcing ships to wait in the harbour because it doesn't have enough capacity to unload them in time. 

"Obviously that's not an ideal situation," Wood says. 

Even less ideal is the port's half-year profit falling 20 percent. 

Ports of Auckland CEO Tony Gibson says they're "not happy about it" while promising the congestion will be curbed in a few months time. 

"We'll have full terminal roll-out in June or July." 

Until then, importers will have to keep putting up with delays.