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Auckland – a waterfront fit for the 21st century

Rt Hon Winston Peters

New Zealand First Leader

Member of Parliament for Northland

21 SEPTEMBER 2017

Excerpts from a public speech

Rally to Save the Waterfront

Quay Street, Auckland

12pm, 21 September, 2017

Auckland – a waterfront fit for the 21st century

Other cities making changes

Major cities around the world have been redeveloping their waterfronts for decades – they have long since realised that what originally served as their port is no longer able to continue when modern maritime assets and technologies are introduced.

Many of them were simply not deep enough or didn’t have the adjacent land area.

Our biggest city faces that quandary. And both of them.

The development of London Docklands was probably the most dramatic change in London since the Great Fire of London.

The city of Sydney moved its port a long time ago. They were realistic and the modern Sydney waterfront stands in stark contrast to that of Auckland.


A revitalised waterfront

A revitalised waterfront will equip Auckland as a city of the 21st century.

But it must be an initiative that has input from the ratepayers of Auckland.

It must be a development that encourages 24-hour activity with a careful balance between the maritime environment and development.

Relocating Ports of Auckland

Relocating Auckland’s port will sort out the city’s urgent need for more space.

It will open up new opportunities as well as new public spaces.

For Ports of Auckland, it would resolve their urgent need for a site capable of supporting infrastructure and future growth.

It would provide Auckland with 77ha of prime waterfront land for public use and the development of a new cruise ship terminal.

The days of the Ports of Auckland as a container port and as a car yard are numbered.

Northland’s Northport

Only parochialism is keeping the port in the Auckland region instead of logically looking to Northport – a natural deep water port.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has confirmed the Firth of Thames is his preferred option - in a move that could take between 10 and 20 years.

Given a new mega-port in the Firth of Thames could cost upwards of $5.5 billion, this is money badly spent, when Northport could be developed within a decade and for so much less.

The Port of Auckland is moving so the question becomes whether it will despoil fish spawning areas in the Firth of Thames, spark massive environmental protests, impose unbearable costs or light the spark of Northland’s economic renaissance.

New Zealand First’s Port Plan

Transport planning used to be a critical priority of central government. That priority has been forgotten in recent times, and explains the mess we are in now with the rundown of rail, clogged roadways and a serious abandonment of coastal shipping.

The recent pipeline breach at Ruakaka is testimony to how little planning has taken place.

All of a sudden coastal shipping in the form of our Navy is being brought into play to move fuel supplies, but no-one is talking about the rail line that should exist to Marsden Point to, among other things, move fuel supplies like we were doing as recently as the 1980s, even without the Marsden Point rail link.

For this reason we will order government and city council officials to stop wasting tax and ratepayers’ money on the idea of a new port in the Firth of Thames, estimated at up to $5.5bn and highly problematic environmentally.

And that cost does not even include the transport linkages.

New Zealand First’s alternative plan should be costed against the presently contemplated impossible extravagance that the Firth of Thames options represents.

NZ First will legislate to require:


· the Port of Auckland transfer vehicle deliveries from Auckland to Northport by the end of 2019 - returning Captain Cook Wharf to Aucklanders ahead of the America’s Cup;
· that the Port of Auckland cease container operations at the Port of Auckland by no later than 31 December 2027; and the full development of Northport as a mega-port.
· Immediately fund the upgrade of the Auckland to Northland rail line, including a new rail spur to Northport.
· Commission the design of a world-class cruise passenger terminal for Auckland.
· By the end of 2018, designate land near to Northport in Whangarei District as New Zealand’s first Special Economic Area.
· As port functions are transferred to Northport, progressively return 77-hectares of Auckland’s iconic harbourside back to Aucklanders.
· Work with Aucklanders, Auckland Council and stakeholders on a masterplan for the 77-hectares of waterfront land that will become available over the next decade.

New Zealand First stands for common sense and straight talk.

We are realists.

We are going to give Aucklanders their waterfront back.

ENDS

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