According to the article:
The Auckland Council has put the brakes on further expansion of the Auckland port into the Waitemata Harbour but stopped short of putting a permanent end to the expansion. The decision was made in a Council meeting this morning. They had planned to extend the port 250m into the prized harbour. The Port Development Plan proposed the larger site to cope with a 400 per cent increase in traffic before 2055. Today the Council voted to undertake an extensive review of the role of Ports of Auckland before deciding on whether to support further expansion into the harbour.
Councillors voted down an amendment from councillor Mike Lee not to support any further expansion beyond the reclamation already consented for.
Although I have been critical of Cllr Lee in the past – his amendment if it went through would have given Auckland some certainty and to which I would have backed. But at the same time I can see the merit of voting down the amendment for now with an “extensive review” now being promised by Auckland Council.
Now this is a tactical victory for people power here in Auckland – it really is, however for me personally it is also a case of a bitter victory at that. The Council has said it would now hold an extensive review – that is nice but while I was disappointed last Saturday after I got a letter from Auckland Council Investment Limited (who looks after Port of Auckland), now I am pretty pissed off that the Council is now deciding to hold a review.
Readers of this blog might recall last month I had sent a letter to every single Auckland Councillor and the Mayor calling for an enquiry into POAL. An enquiry looking at the industrial relations dispute, the ownership model AND location options for POAL. Question Five of the proposed enquiry was the following:
For the sake of optimal Return on Investment and Productivity in benefit to the wider economy and social environment: What location would be most suited for Port of Auckland:
- Port stays where it is and infrastructure upgrades are committed
- Port gets relocated to somewhere INSIDE Auckland, example south-east Auckland
- Port is relocated somewhere OUTSIDE Auckland. That would mean Port of Tauranga, and Marsden Point in Northland – which would also give way to subsequent infrastructure upgrades as well.
On Saturday gone I had received a letter of reply from Gary Swift – CEO of ACIL stating that in regards to Question Five:
There are no plans to relocate the Port. The cost of doing is estimated to be in the billions of dollars, which would significantly jeopardise the Return on Equity objective. It is also important to note that to cater for future growth, both the Auckland and Tauranga ports will be needed, and both will need to expand to the full extent of their current plans, to prevent the upper North Island facing a future deficit in port infrastructure.
And as for the enquiry:
The POAL board began work last year to lift performance across the entire organisation. For that reason, we do not see any need for an independent inquiry into POAL.
Forgive me if I see a sense of irony in this, but ACIL have said NO to an enquiry that would look at the location options of the port INCLUDING KEEPING IT WHERE IT IS NOW! But Auckland Council are now deciding to stop any expansion for the moment and hold an:
Today the Council voted to undertake an extensive review of the role of Ports of Auckland before deciding on whether to support further expansion into the harbour.
Forgive Me, but what is going on Councillors and is there any forward thinking here? There does not seem to be in this instance although I am keen for any responses from councillors on that matter.
This issue could have been dealt with and a pile of agitation from the public and concerned interest groups PLUS any embarrassment if the enquiry was held in the first place. Also that enquiry could have given us ratepayers something a little more to go on for submissions to the Draft Long Term Plan 2012-2022 and 2015-2025 (when that comes up in due time).
Never mind – the review is about to be set and I might send THAT LETTER again to every single Councillor and the Mayor’s Office asking for that enquiry.
Speaking of which, what is this review’s scope?
Linked below is the letter I sent to Council, the reply from ACIL, and my “reply” post to ACIL on VOAKL.
For some light relief – check out Your Port Your Call on Facebook. Richard Horton does a nice impression on what we could do with POAL at its current location.