Public transport, especially ferry services, has been a hot topic during National Party candidate Andrew Bayly’s meetings in the Hunua electorate.
Better transport solutions for Hunua is one of Andrew’s passions and, recently, he met with Auckland ferry operator Sealink, to ascertain the outlook for ferry services from Pine Harbour and across the Manukau Harbour.
Sealink, provides ferry services to Waiheke, Great Barrier, and Rakino, and recently acquired the Pine Harbour Ferry business. Managing Director, Todd Bolton, told Andrew Bayly that Sealink will continue to operate the same services as at present, but he is well aware of the demand for later sailings during the week and for services on weekends. He will be holding discussions with Auckland Transport, the outcome of which he hopes will allow Sealink to commit to building another vessel to provide these additional services.
The other area of consideration for Sealink is the Manukau Harbour. With a significant increase in housing in the Waiuku area, Todd is assessing the feasibility of providing ferry services connecting Onehunga Wharf, Clark’s Beach, Waiuku and Huia.
The key issues
that need to be addressed before Sealink could contemplate a
new service are:
1. Access to the Onehunga Wharf, which is controlled by Ports of Auckland
2. The need for landings to be built at the ports of call
3. Silting of the Harbour, which restricts access during periods of low tide; and
4. The need to make an adequate return on the cost of a vessel.
Chairman of the Manukau Harbour Restoration Society, Jim Jackson, said, “the Sealink proposal to operate a ferry service on the Manukau would be fully supported by his group as being the first and most critical step in starting long overdue change to the Harbour. The Manukau is New Zealand’s second largest harbour and the Sealink proposal would allow the wider public to appreciate its value and importance to Auckland at first hand”.
To get a service is going to involve reaching agreement with Auckland Transport and Ports of Auckland. For Sealink, the first priority is to improve the nature and number of sailings into and from Pine Harbour.