Ports of Auckland

I can feel the money (and my life force) draining away…

Auckland Council have unanimously committed $1M for a review on the port expansion but it won’t be completed before the port needs to expand.

No, I’m not making it up.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown’s office will stump up more than $1 million to fund a port future study – but it will not be completed in time to meet Ports of Auckland’s deadline for starting its controversial expansion of the Bledisloe Wharf.

A meeting of Auckland Council’s development committee today unanimously voted in favour of a draft design proposal for the study, which will ban input from politicians and councillors and put the ratepayers at the heart of the decision-making process.

However, the “collaborative” project, described as “complicated” by the report’s author Jacques Victor, will come at a cost of more than $1 million dollars and is expected to take at least a year.

As an observer of these kinds of initiatives, I can now state with total confidence that two things will happen.  One, it will cost more that $1M.  Two, it will take more than one year (easy one, as they have already stated “at least” a year).

Last month, the council agreed to a compromise with Ports of Auckland, in which it promised to halt the extension of the western end of Bledisloe Wharf by 92m into Waitemata Harbour, pending completion of a port future study by April 30 next year.

Today the committee heard it would not be completed by that date.

Mr Victor said: “We’re trying to make this go as fast as we can, remembering that is a collaborative process.

“Unfortunately, it still comes to a year, and I do not believe we can do it any faster than that. We’re probably looking at June or July next year for the recommendations to come to this committee.”

Quizzed on the time frame by councillors, he said: “I do not think it can be done by April. I don’t think it should be driven by what the Ports need.

A review of what to do with the Auckland Port should not be driven by what the Ports need.

I’ll just leave that there.

 

– Patrice Dougan, NZ Herald

 

Guest Post – The sabotage of the economy and Auckland by Labour

Many years ago I was told by a senior politician that I was not to fuss, that while they might lose the election and the Nats would get in, the party had put so many fish hooks into the economy and the programmes that the Nats would only last one term as the economy would crash.

I put my wine glass down and walked out of the party – and out of Labour. I was not prepared to be party to the sabotage of a country for the sake of winning an election.

The economy did crash, and the new Government spent a lot of time restoring some sanity into the economy and sort out a number of the expensive but failing programmes.

I see the same thing happening again in Auckland. We have a Labour Council in control, and they are doing their very best to sabotage the next (national) election by making it impossible to build housing promised during the elections.

Labour will then be able to shout from the roof tops that the Government had failed again, and had lied to the voters. The fact that they were cunning enough to stop the building of the houses in the first instance will not be as noticeable in the run up to the elections.   Read more »

Ports flips the bird at Len and the luvvies

The Ports of Auckland has flipped the bird at Mayor Len Brown and the luvvies supporting halting work, they have moved in the cranes and construction equipment and got underway on their legally mandated and approved extension work.

Ports of Auckland chairman Graeme Hawkins has announced the company is proceeding with two massive wharf extensions into the Waitemata Harbour.

The decision to continue work comes despite public protests and a political call by Auckland Council to halt work until a wide-ranging port study is done.

The port company has resource consent for the work and there are no legal barriers to prevent it.

Following a board meeting today Mr Hawkins said there had been a hold up with some gear but work was proceeding on the extensions to Bledisloe Wharf. Read more »

Does anyone else think that Brian Gaynor banging on about transparency is a sick joke?

Brian Gaynor still has column in the NZ Herald, despite his company being under investigation for manipulating markets, and despite the Guardians of the Superfund pulling their warrant, for want of a better term.

The Herald seems to think his columns are just fine, and NZME. thinks his continued pushing of Kiwisaver ads on NewstalkZB is fine to.

Today’s column though is just taking the piss. He is banging on about transparency.

One of the major issues raised by the Ports of Auckland wharf expansion controversy is whether Auckland ratepayers have greater transparency and more influence over the company than they did when it was listed on the NZX.

Similar transparency and influence issues can be raised regarding Air New Zealand, Genesis Energy, Meridian Energy and Mighty River Power, all NZX listed and more than 50 per cent owned by the Crown.

Read more »

More pork pies being sold by Mayor

The Mayor continues to tell porkies about what he knew regarding the Ports wharves and reclamation fiasco.

Only on Sunday the POAL CEO called Len Brown out for being a liar – stating that Len knew the whole time.

Now Lenny’s digging his hole deeper.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown has conceded the first he knew about two wharf extensions at the Ports of Auckland was from the Herald.

Mr Brown had previously indicated he knew about the finger wharves at Bledisloe Wharf before the Herald broke the story on February 11.   Read more »

Len Brown says one thing, Ports boss says he’s lyin’, I think we know who to believe

Len Brown went on Q+A yesterday and was in spin overdrive, just a few minutes later the Ports of Auckland boss calls him out as a liar.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown has stepped up a war of words with Ports of Auckland, accusing port bosses of keeping the council in the dark about two huge wharf extensions.

Speaking on Television New Zealand’s Q+A programme yesterday, Mr Brown said the port company had acted outside its statement of intent by not holding discussions with the council about planned spending on the port’s footprint.

Mr Brown, who has previously argued the council was powerless to stop the wharf extensions and direct the port company how to run its business, gave the strongest hint yet that he now opposes port expansion.

“I’m with most Aucklanders. I know that there’s absolutely a limit that we have to draw around the port in terms of how far the port can go into the harbour,” he said yesterday.

Port chief executive Tony Gibson, who appeared on the same programme, said Mr Brown’s claims about not holding discussions were not true.

He said the wharf extensions were a “non-notifiable issue” and the real issue was around reclamation.

The port company has said it plans to reclaim 3ha of seabed between the wharf extensions over time.

Read more »

Reader Content: Auckland Port – what about the big picture?

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The key issue that I see is that there is no coordination between Auckland Council and Ports of Auckland Limited regarding a plan to provide both sufficient port capacity for anticipated shipping volumes and public access to the waterfront, or if there is, it hasn’t been disclosed to the public.

In the absence of any disclosure of the parties’ motivations, it appears that PoAL has no appreciation of the bigger picture and that AC does not have the will or the nous to exercise its authority as the owner of PoAL.

I can see no reason why we shouldn’t have a rational discussion about whether downtown Auckland is the appropriate location for the working port that serves Auckland.

There are international precedents for a working port to be relocated from the downtown area of a city – San Francisco and Sydney are but two examples which come readily to mind. The reality is that many sites chosen for ports pre-1900, when the volume of freight and the method by which it was shipped were both far different from those today, are no longer appropriate.

Auckland failed dismally on where our principal sporting stadium should be located back at the time when the old north stand at Eden Park was replaced and again when the south stand was replaced, but those mistakes have cost us much less than stuffing up regarding the port could do.

While the cost of building a new working port elsewhere might be substantial, it’s a discussion we should have before further capital expenditure is committed to the current location. I wonder whether AC considered the bigger picture before it and PoAL recently consented to Holcim building a 28m high cement silo on a site adjacent to Quay Street (in a zone previously subject to an 18m maximum height).

The major objection to the current location is its effect on city traffic. When I moved to Auckland in 1977 Auckland Port was a ‘railway’ port. Wagons were marshalled on the land between The Strand and Quay Street that is now occupied by Vector Arena, apartment buildings, train tracks leading to Britomart and a holding yard for some of the new train set which don’t yet seem to be in service.   Read more »

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Auckland Council brass and Len Brown are trying desperately to distance themselves from the Ports expansion

Auckland Council brass and Len Brown are trying desperately to distance themselves from the Ports expansion with PR spun porkies.

Today the Council is saying ‘heads might roll’ and that ‘it didn’t know anything about the wharf expansion’ which they claim should have been communicated to Council by POAL.

Heads could roll over Ports of Auckland expansion plans, according to a senior Auckland Council source.

Auckland Council has started to flex its muscles on plans by the ports company to build two massive wharf extensions nearly 100m into the Waitemata Harbour.

Council chief executive Stephen Town has written a letter to the council body overseeing Ports of Auckland asking it to “encourage” port bosses to halt the extensions until a wide-ranging port study is done.

Mr Town and councillors have also delivered a firm message to the port company to become more engaged with the community.

“It is my view that Ports of Auckland Ltd (POAL) has not engaged sufficiently with key stakeholders, or the public at large, in relation to the proposed wharf extensions,” Mr Town said in his letter to Auckland Council Investments Ltd (ACIL).

Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse told a council meeting yesterday the letter contained an “iron fist in a velvet glove”. If all else failed there was a “thermonuclear” option.

A senior council officer indicated the “thermonuclear” option could see heads roll.

Read more »

Len’s wet bus ticket response to Port Expansion

Len Brown is playing us all for the fool.

Rather than do the right thing Len has instructed Stephen Town to ‘encourage’ Ports of Auckland to halt wharf expansions.

Auckland Council has formally asked Ports of Auckland to halt construction of two massive wharf extensions.

At a meeting today, Mr Brown said council chief executive Stephen Town had written a letter to Auckland Council Investments Ltd, the council body overseeing the port company, requesting it to encourage the port company to hold off the wharf extensions until a port study had been completed.

Read more »

Len Brown hedging his bets over Port

Nobody believes Len Brown for a second that he and his Council have been powerless to stop the ports from obtaining a Resource Consent to extend wharves.

Auckland mayor Len Brown said he is hoping discussions with the Ports of Auckland will result in the port “cooling their heels” on the construction of two massive wharf extensions, due to begin next month.

Mr Brown told TV3’s The Nation today that a study on the economic, environmental and social impact of the port on wider Auckland has begun.

He has told the council and the port that he wants discussions around the study between the council and Port of Auckland to be held in the coming days and weeks ahead of the start date on the extensions.   Read more »