Auckland Mayor Phil Goff sent the memo below to his 20 councillors on Wednesday, the day after Newsroom reported discussions were held about splitting the Ports of Auckland company and its land into separate entities – and after he had met the ports company to discuss its future.
His irritation at the closed-door discussions being made public is clear, as he says: “In classic form, even before the meeting was held, the media had been fed information around what was supposedly discussed.”
I met formally with the Ports of Auckland CEO Tony Gibson and Board Chair Liz Coutts on Tuesday evening along with the Chair of the Planning Committee, Chris Darby and Council CEO Stephen Town.
On the agenda was the Port’s presentation on:
1. The Ports Future Study
2. What is happening in the industry
3. The Ports strategic partnership with other NZ Ports
4. Whether the Ports should be divided into a Property Company and an Operating Company
5. The Port Development Plan
I have asked the Ports to conduct a workshop session for all Councillors on exactly the same agenda.
In classic form, even before the meeting was held, the media had been fed information around what was supposedly discussed. The stories were factually inaccurate. Speculation about agreeing to the sale of the Port Company is unfounded.
My position on the future of the Port is exactly what I have said during the campaign – I want to progress plans to relocate the Port from the city-centre waterfront and free up 77 hectares of land for public access to the waterfront and better use of the assets we own for commercial and residential use; as well as public open spaces, as we have done with Wynyard Quarter.
Relocation of the Port will obviously take time but advancing the investigation of an alternative site that works environmentally and economically needs to start as soon as practicable. I believe the Port’s most valuable asset for Auckland is the land it sits on.
The future of the Port Company can only be determined once we have a better idea of where it will located and options for meeting the costs of relocation, the Port’s overall capital needs over the next decade and how the Port Company can be kept competitive.
I am on record as having said this throughout my election campaign.
The decision on the Port’s future however will be made, not by me, but by all of us as elected representatives on the basis of evidence around best options.