Shane Jones says the Manukau Harbour is the “worst harbour in New Zealand” to be chosen as the country’s next super port.
A new report by Sapere released today evaluated alternative locations for Auckland’s port. It recommended the Manukau Harbour as the highest ranked option, out of Northport, the Firth of Thames and Port of Tauranga.
It followed a working group recommendation in October last year led by former Northland mayor Wayne Brown, which recommended Ports of Auckland move to Whangārei Harbour's Northport.
Transport Minister Phil Twyford released the report alongside Associate Transport Minister Shane Jones today.
Mr Jones disagrees with Sapere's report recommendation, and says he is “absolutely a doubter” that the Manukau Harbour will “ever be fit for purpose” for international shipping lines.
“Whoever wrote that report was navigationally speaking, blind, because they’ve chosen the worst harbour in New Zealand as our new uber mega super port," he said.
“They [international shipping lines] don’t want to move their cargo around New Zealand via the west coast … many of the industry say it has to be on the east coast.”
Looking into moving the port from Auckland to Northland was part of the Labour and NZ First coalition agreemeent.
"I’m personally disappointed that we haven’t been able to get movement.
"From my perspective there’s only one option really, for Auckland to be split between Northland and Tauranga."
It comes as the Government today confirmed it is deferring the decision on whether to move Auckland's port until after the election.
Mr Twyford said as officials have been focused on Covid-19 response and recovery work "they have not yet been able to provide advice on Sapere's assessment of the benefits, costs, risks and uncertainties associated with the options".