Patrick Gower: Auckland's port is outdated, uninspired and needs to go

OPINION: Auckland's first wharf was constructed in the 1840s to help cart goods off wooden ships by horse and cart.

The port has grown since those very early days with land reclamation extending it further and further into the harbour.

Auckland's waterfront looks very different to what it once did with many saying it's now an eyesore, over-capacity and needs to move.

There are plans to dredge another 2.5 million cubic metres of harbour floor for future use but moving the port would free up areas for redevelopment.

Where other harbour cities have parks, cafes and clubs, Auckland showcases trucks, cranes and cargo bays.

While moving the ports takes money away from Auckland, the waterfront that replaces it would be a boom for property and tourism.

A report by a group called the Supply Chain Strategy Working Group for the Ministry of Transport states: "The Port of Auckland's CBD freight operation is no longer economically or environmentally viable."

The group says moving it would be "a win for all Kiwi taxpayers".

"It would reduce traffic congestion, enrich Auckland by $6 billion while creating thousands of jobs up north."'

Make no mistake this would be a massive job, but it would happen over many years.

It would include a new rail line and four-lane highway connecting Auckland to Whangarei, allowing goods to be distributed across the country. It's estimated to cost $10 billion.

Shifting the port isn't just seen as creating a boost for Northland - it's the type of big-scale project that would help the entire economy stay afloat after COVID-19.

New Zealand's freight is predicted to grow by 55 percent in the next 20 years and plenty of experts agree this should have been done yesterday. However, now is the time to go full steam ahead.

For Auckland the possibilities are endless - maybe a stadium near the water and an iconic museum too.

For Northland, it would be unleashed and unlocked - one of our most needy regions getting the transformative economic boost it needs.

Patrick Gower is Newshub's national correspondent.