Relief that proposed 35-year lease at Port of Auckland off the table

Relief that proposed 35-year lease at Port of Auckland off the table
Relief that proposed 35-year lease at Port of Auckland off the table

Councilors and advocacy groups are highlighted the proposal of a 35-year lease of the Port of Auckland is not going ahead (file photo).
Photo: RNZ / Kymberlee Fernandes

Advocacy group ‘Stop Stealing our Harbour’ believes the 35-year lease proposal for the Port of Auckland – which is now off the table – was an ill-conceived plan.

Some councilors and advocacy groups are highlighted the proposal of a 35-year lease of the Port of Auckland was not going ahead.

A new tripartite agreement had been reached between Auckland Council and the Port of Auckland, where port land, assets, and operations would be retained under council ownership.

The port has committed to $1 billion in profits to Auckland Council over the next 10 years.

Port of Auckland chief executive Roger Gray said handing back Captain Cook Wharf and Marsden Wharf to council would cost an excess of $70 million, a figure he said the council was happy with.

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown also negotiated public access to parts of Bledisloe Wharf – where all imported cars were currently unloaded – as a shared space for public use and cruises.

‘Stop Stealing our Harbour’ was happy the plan was not going ahead, but was now calling for the development of a long-term, post-port waterfront masterplan, before any further short-term plans were implemented.

Founder and spokesperson Goldwater said he feared the council’s new deal with the port would result in the continued concreting over of the Waitematā Harbour.

“It is disappointing the council has again fallen into the port’s trap to extend its downtown waterfront footprint, and continue its endless expansion into the harbor,” Goldwater said.

“Yet again, the tail is wagging the dog.

“The port hasn’t changed its spots. It’s still dictating the agenda by getting the council to do exactly what it wants to – keep occupying our prime waterfront real estate.

“Far from serving the interests of Aucklanders or the Waitematā Harbour, the council is again letting the port disrupt any kind of serious, long-term post-port waterfront planning and development.”

Auckland councilor Julie Fairey said she had concerns with the old plan.

“The port was already turning around, it was doing a lot better than it had been, in particular, the effort put into rebuilding the relationship with the workforce, to the point where people were now working really well together and that was only going to get better,” she said.

“It gives certainty that the council was going to be the owner and is going to be in charge directly of the operator, in a way that people can plan with certainty.

“What is also another really important part of this agreement beyond [sort of] the immediate impact, is actually the commitment to do some joint planning.”

Fairey praised Brown for looking at other options to move forward.

 
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