10 March 2004
The public’s right of access to the waterfront is a treasured principle…..
…. On the other hand, the Ports Of Auckland Limited have a responsibility to get a maximum return for Aucklanders from the Ports “business”, said Michael Barnett, chief executive of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
He was commenting on Auckland’s City announcement that it will tender to purchase Westhaven as a result of advice received from former Prime Minister and lawyer, Sir Geoffrey Palmer.
As the Port company divest of assets like Westhaven considered no longer to be strategic or viable to its future profitable operation, it is important that the full balance of interests between commercial return and the public accessibility are protected, he said.
“We have to ensure an owner is in place who is sympathetic to the wishes of Aucklanders for continued public access. If Auckland City believes they can be appropriate custodians of the area, they must also accept that the Port Company is required to get a maximum return from the sales.
Aucklanders need to understand the tensions between these principles and values,” said Mr Barnett.
Clearly the return from the sale of Westhaven will add value to the monetary return from the Ports of Auckland’s “business”. In turn, this profitability will become part of the Port’s contribution to funding the region’s assets, and in particular transport, as a result of its contribution to Infrastructure Auckland, and soon to become part of Auckland Regional Holdings