New Zealand First’s Auckland Port Move Makes No Sense What So Ever

The port will move just not as someone wants



New Zealand First’s port move just makes no sense what so ever. Why move the primary import port to the north when:

  1. South Auckland industrial complexes are in yes South Auckland (meaning moving freight through the City)
  2. 60% of Port of Auckland’s market is in Auckland and the other 40% in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty


Councillor and Planning Chair Chris Darby wrote the following:

NZ First’s Northland economic development plan to relocate the Port of Auckland to NorthPort would be an unemployment plan for south Auckland and likely result in a 4% rates increase for Aucklanders.

If only it was as simple as NZ First think it is to shift Auckland’s port. Spitting out a “cast iron commitment” lacking even a whiff of evidence or costings can only be seen as an artificial lure for voters.

This madcap idea would rob south Auckland of thousands of jobs in logistics, import-export industries and vehicle processing and strip away the Port of Auckland dividends that relieve Auckland ratepayers the equivalent of a 4% rates increase. Northland would be better off and Auckland gets its waterfront back but at the cost of a massive rates hike and thousands in south Auckland being made redundant. Thanks but no thanks.

Most would agree, the days of the port on the Waitemata are numbered and Auckland Council is already working towards that end. Where it goes has been the subject of a huge body of work. Council’s 2016 Port Future Study frames a strategy to relocate the port. The study looked at 28 long list options, including NorthPort. Further exhaustive multi-criteria analysis eliminated 20 of those options. NorthPort failed by a country mile to make the short list of 8 options for very good reasons, one of which was a dislocated supply chain. Locating a port 150kms away from the Auckland import market and even further from the exports coming out of the golden triangle of Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga would be counter-productive.

It’s great to see the willingness of a political party to get in behind Auckland Council to relocate the port but determining NorthPort as the future location ignores all the evidence that saw it fail to make the cut.

NZ First conveniently dismisses the investment logic examined and agreed for the Port Future Study by the consortium of Black Quay (port planning), EY (economic/financial), Jasmax (urban planning), GHD (landslide engineering), eCoast (natural environment), Aurecon (transport planning) and JLL (property).

The study landed on two general locations for relocating the port, Firth of Thames and Manukau Harbour. It made clear the need for further work to determine which of the two prevailed. It also required the confirmation and monitoring of a set of relocation triggers to identify when the port should move.

The Port of Auckland will without doubt go. A supportive government partnering with Auckland Council would accelerate relocation. The smart move would be for political parties to express a willingness to collaborate with Auckland to relocate the port rather than predetermine the location to lure the parochial voter.

Reference: Winston Peters’ pledge: ‘The days of the Ports of Auckland as a container port and car yard are numbered’



My reply was the following:


Ben Ross Moving the Port north away from the South Auckland industrial bases would be the daftest idea Ive seen.

1) That means trucks on State Highway 1 and the Western Ring Route through North, West and Central Auckland to access South Auckland. You want those trucks going through those areas jamming up the North Western and South Western Motorways? Nah didn’t think so.

2) Okay lets shift it by train, down the Western Line through the Isthmus pass the City Rail Link entrance at Mt Eden through Newmarket and down the Southern Line to Wiri. Great way of screwing up the passenger network especially between Avondale and Penrose of which are not designed to take a Third Main unlike from Pukekohe to Westfield.

3) Avondale to Southdown bypass? Northern Airport Line takes that one up.

4) What about carbon emissions? The Carbon Cost of Importing Vehicles Through Alternative Ports. A Report to Port of Auckland

5) 60% of the imports go to Auckland from Port of Auckland. Where does the rest go? The Waikato and Bay of Plenty (the Golden Triangle). So you want to shift the port north away from South Auckland logistics bases and the secondary market south of Auckland – that is in other words freighting goods through the City.

North Port will be serving Northland and its exportable primary products while handling our oil imports for Marsden. It and the North Auckland Line are not designed to take Auckland’s load.

If the Port did move it would go south to serve the Golden Triangle and still be in reach of the South Auckland industrial complexes. Most likely the Firth of Thames as the Manukau has the bar that is not kind to shipping.

I need not remind you that while the City Centre produces 7.4% of National GDP, Manukau and its industrial surrounds also product 7.4% of National GDP. as well.

Step 4 and 5 of Manukau Framework Plan
Source: Panuku Development Auckland




The port will move over the next fifty years that is a given. The catch is the port will move south where it is still in and best serves the Golden Triangle – including new industrial complexes moving into the Northern Waikato out from Auckland (see: Guest Lecture: Inter-Regional Planning and Sustainability).


Winston’s posturing I would say is harmful….


Uni lecture presentation mk3



One thought on “New Zealand First’s Auckland Port Move Makes No Sense What So Ever

  1. You realise the Onehunga option is absolutely bananas in comparison to Marsden Point, and therefore the study that ruled out Marsden Point but listed Onehunga as a serious option is itself absolutely bananas?

    Moving the port 150km can actually be viable, as proven by the fact that Auckland’s second port is already located 150km away, in Tauranga. But unlike Tauranga, Marsden Point is 150km closer to Asian and Australian markets, and will reduce shipping charges because of that.

    The future of POA is that it will either continue where it is, or it will close. Relocation within the Auckland region is not going to happen because it will never be affordable. If Aucklanders want to use their waterfront for other purposes, then the best option is to use Marsden Point for Asian and Australian shipping lines, and Tauranga for the Americas, and just do away with Auckland altogether.

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