A top freight executive says no shipping company would choose Manukau Harbour as a potential new destination for an Auckland port.
A report by economic consultancy Sapere published yesterday ranked Manukau Harbour as the best option. It considered Northport, Manukau, the Firth of Thames, the Port of Tauranga and a shared increase in capacity at both Northport and the Port of Tauranga.
An earlier report, backed by New Zealand First, identified Northport at Marsden Point as the best option. The report was completed by a Government working group led by former Far North mayor Wayne Brown.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff called the previous Northport work "shoddy" and Transport Minister Phil Twyford said it "had a clearly predetermined outcome" in favour of moving the port to Marsden Point.
New Zealand First still backs Northport as a new location, with MP Shane Jones saying Manukau was the most treacherous harbour in the country and unfit as an alternative site for Ports of Auckland.
Carr and Haslam director Chris Carr said he didn't know how the Sapere report had come up with Manukau Harbour.
"It's probably about the only time in the world I'll ever agree with Shane Jones," Carr told told Morning Report.
"The prevailing weather comes in on the western side of the country. Ports don't exist in the west coast of New Zealand, they exist on the east coast.
"I'm no maritime person but all the shipping companies say that they won't go to the west coast and that in itself would tend to make Manukau the first shipless port that we'd have in the country.
"It's simply not suitable operationally and it wouldn't work no matter how much we might try and make it fit."
If the port had to be moved from Auckland it should be to somewhere ships can get in and out safely, he said.
"You also want to go somewhere near the largest consumption area which is the Auckland-Tauranga-Hamilton-Waikato area.
"The only place you can do that is the Firth of Thames. It's not ideal."
He agreed with the Sapere report that Ports of Auckland could keep operating for more than 30 years before it ran out of space where it was.
"But New Zealand's not good at doing this sort of stuff and we take so long to do it that we need to start working at it and looking at it.
"If you look at it from a logistical point of view, the decisions become quite easy - it's when you get politics involved it becomes quite hard.
"The shipping companies who in the end of the day determine where their vessels come would not choose Manukau, ever."
Shane Jones told Morning Report he had come off second best to people opposed to a relocation to Northland.
"I had professionally and personally campaigned with my leader for the expansion of Northport and relocation of Ports of Auckland activity to Tauranga and Northland," he said.
He invoked the sinking of the Orpheus in 1863, in which 189 people died, as reason to not build a port at Manukau Harbour.
"I will prophesy that a thousand years will pass before a new port will ever be located in Manukau Harbour.
"[The Sapere report] wants to take us over the bar of the most treacherous harbour in New Zealand and dredge to a level of spill that will rival Mt Cook somewhere in New Zealand or it'll be dumped in the ocean."
Jones said work on a new port needed to "get cracking" in 10 to 15 years.
"In New Zealand we leave too many infrastructure decisions to the last minute."
No decision is to be made before the election, leaving it for political parties to campaign on.