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Cabinet Should Agree Tomorrow to Move Port

Cabinet Should Agree Tomorrow to Move Port

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her Cabinet should make a policy decision tomorrow that Auckland’s car and container port must close by 31 December 2029, Waterfront 2029 Spokesperson Michael Goldwater said today.

Mr Goldwater was commenting ahead of tomorrow’s crucial Cabinet meeting to decide the future of Auckland’s car and container port and its waterfront.

“The time for a policy decision is now,” Mr Goldwater said.

“Auckland is over 50 years behind Sydney and other major world waterfront cities. This is not the time to bury our heads in the sand and foolishly waste more precious time. We cannot continue the endless report writing and procrastination politicians have used for decades to avoid making a decision.”

Mr Goldwater said there is no longer any doubt that the car and container port has lost its social license.

“Over 60 percent of Aucklanders believe their city would be a better place to live when the port is moved, according to Colmar Brunton,” he said.

“That was before it was revealed the port plans to dredge 2.5 million tonnes of the Rangitoto Channel to allow giant new container ships to visit – something the port’s management says is essential for it to continue to operate on Auckland’s prime waterfront land.

“The dredging will never be allowed to happen. The Auckland community including Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei is strongly opposed. The dredging will be opposed first through the resource consent process, then through every level of the courts and ultimately on the water.

“In just two weeks, the Waterfront 2029 campaign has reached more than one million New Zealanders through social media, and we have no intention of stopping. Over 100 prominent Aucklanders have signed our open letter to the Prime Minister calling for the car and container port to close. And now the country’s largest newspaper, the NZ Herald, has declared in a powerful editorial that the port must go.”

Mr Goldwater said Waterfront 2029 accepted the Government might need some more months to facilitate commercial negotiations among the owners and governance of Ports of Auckland, Port of Tauranga and Northport to decide how best to implement the decision that Auckland must close. It would also need to make decisions about the infrastructure investments needed to support the decision and how they will be funded and implemented. But he said these issues must not be used as an excuse to delay a decision that Auckland’s car and container operations must close by a fixed date next decade.

“Moving the port is one of the biggest opportunities for the Prime Minister and her Government to show strong leadership and leave a legacy that we can all be proud of. Continuing to kick the can down the road will have long-term negative outcomes for the region and unnecessarily shift the burden of responsibility to future generations. Now is the moment to create a win/win/win for all three regions - Auckland, Bay of Plenty and Northland. As the NZ Herald puts it, a policy decision this week about the future of the Auckland waterfront would be the best Christmas gift ever.”

END

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