Industry rounds on “move PoAL” call

Winston Peters’ move has been roundly criticised by the New Zealand maritime sector Photo: Bernard Spragg. NZ/flickr/Public domain Winston Peters’ move has been roundly criticised by the New Zealand maritime sector Photo: Bernard Spragg. NZ/flickr/Public domain

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters’ move to reignite calls to relocate Ports of Auckland (PoAL) operations to Northport in his electorate has been roundly criticised by the New Zealand maritime sector.

The relocation possibility has been examined extensively in the past, including via a Port Future Study commissioned by the Auckland Council in recent years, and Mr Peters has aimed to gain leverage from the issue heading into this Saturday’s general election.

Industry commentator Dave MacIntyre is among those who have debunked the logic of the move, noting in a recent Morning Report interview that as about three-quarters of PoAL’s imports stay within the greater Auckland region, relocating further north would simply introduce greater time and costs.

Said Road Transport Forum chief executive Ken Shirley: “The huge investment that would be needed to the infrastructure of Northport and the transport links from there to Auckland are complete folly.”

Added New Zealand Shippers’ Council chairperson Mike Knowles: “The location of the port in the centre of Auckland creates great efficiency gains - particularly for imports. In recent years numerous studies have been undertaken - all of which confirm this important role. It would be unwise to ignore the findings of those studies.”

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