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To move or not to move

To move or not to move: Emissions should be the deciding factor for proposed Ports of Auckland move

Central and local government, including Auckland Council, have been debating the future of the Ports of Auckland but there seems to be something missing in the debate - how much more greenhouse gases will Aotearoa emit if we move the port from the waterfront to Northport near Whangarei?

On 7 November 2019, Aotearoa New Zealand made a landmark decision that set us apart from many countries - we enacted the Zero Carbon Act. On 4 December 2019, Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern also announced that all key decisions will consider climate change.

“Generation Zero believes emissions should be at the centre of any decision making on the potential port move to reflect the current climate emergency,” says Generation Zero member Katrina Jordan.

“There is no doubt that the Ports of Auckland is an integral part of our economy. It is on prime real estate land that is hindering Aucklanders from using the space more recreationally and, quite honestly, an eyesore for many.”

Generation Zero’s position is that:

- The Ports of Auckland should not be moved until there is significant investment in rail between Northport and Auckland, including electrification.
- If electrification is not feasible then neither is moving the port to a further location. This will only increase the amount of freight moving between Whangarei and Auckland on higher emitting diesel trucks.
Central government has been considering the merits of this crucial economic engine in its current location and what opportunities, both in Northland and in Auckland, could occur should the port move. If the move is feasible, Generation Zero’s vision for the land aligns the recently announced plan by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei for the waterfront space. This plan reflects the environmental, economic and cultural needs of the land, while also increasing the amount of public space that Tāmaki Makaurau needs to become a vibrant, livable, zero carbon city.

“Moving the port will likely increase our emissions if not enough investment is given to low carbon freight options such as electric rail. The transport options currently used by the port predominantly use fossil fuels. This must change if the port is to shift to Northport.” Overall Generation Zero agrees that a decision on the port must align with action that addresses this current climate emergency.


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