Mark Thomas - New Mayor for Auckland

Transport And Housing More Important Than Moving Port

Auckland mayoral candidate Mark Thomas says the Port Future Study findings mean the next Auckland Council can focus on its more immediate transport and housing priorities.

“The 1 year, $1 million study both recommends a new port location is established while also acknowledging that the port may be able to accommodate long-term demand at the

current site. The consultants mid-point for any possible port move is 2055, 40 years from now but they note considerable uncertainty with this assessment.

Thomas says with such uncertainty and such long time frames, the prudent action is just to establish a monitoring regime to report on the triggers the study identifies.

We have the time to focus on Auckland’s more immediate transport and housing priorities and we do not need to spend the next three years of Auckland Council planning a port move.

“If elected Mayor, I will not prioritise planning to move the port in the next three years.

“After nearly 6 years as part of Auckland Council, I have heard much from Aucklanders about their transport, housing and other priority community needs.”

“NZTA says we should be spending at least $400m more each year on resolving traffic congestion. Auckland climbed to the 5th most expensive city on earth to buy a house this year, because we should be building around 15,000 houses per years and are only building 9,000.”

Thomas say these are the complex, expensive and more urgent priorities that the next Auckland Council should focus on.

“The move to research a new port location will itself cost millions of dollars and we shouldn’t spend this money until the triggers tell us we need to.”

We do need to resolve short-term port growth pressures and the port will have a tough job convincing many Aucklanders that extending Bledisloe further into the harbour is the best answer.

I note that any 25-45m extension of Bledisloe would still leave the 890 metres between Fergusson and the Stanley Bay Wharf as the narrowest channel between the port and the Devonport peninsula.

But if the port wants to proceed with its extension argument,  it will need a compelling case and much better public engagement than it has undertaken to date.

Thomas said unlike Phil Goff he didn’t want to wait for any future government to determine a national ports strategy.

“Under my leadership Auckland Council can take steps itself to resolve our port future, including building a closer working relationship with Northport and the Ports of Tauranga.”

Meanwhile, the port study provides some relief for Aucklanders that the next Auckland Council can focus more on fixing traffic congestion and getting more, affordable houses built – and not on moving the port.



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