Thursday 6th Aug, 2020

Rail considerations part of Auckland port decision

Photo: Public Domain

New Zealand’s Ministry of Transport will consider the scope of a Cabinet recommendation to move Auckland’s freight port operations north to Whangarei.

Infrastructure minister Shane Jones this week released the final report by the Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy working group.

In the report, Cabinet took the position that freight operations on prime land in downtown Auckland are no longer viable, and the government should consider moving those operations north to the deepwater port Northport.

“I expect this analysis to consider environmental effects, including on New Zealand’s overall greenhouse gas emissions, and consideration of Government infrastructure investments in roads and rail, for example, building a rail spur to Marsden Point,” Jones said.

“I’m pleased my Cabinet colleagues have recognised the merit of this report and have agreed move forward with this work.”

The Ministry of Transport has been ordered to undertake further work into the proposal, focused on funding and financing options, governance and commercial considerations, land use planning, legislative and regulatory considerations as well as some additional transport and logistics analysis.

“Ministers have also requested that officials work with the newly-established Infrastructure Commission to ensure we’re taking a holistic view of our logistics network and the major infrastructure needs of New Zealand,” Jones added.

“Shifting Auckland’s Port will be a huge undertaking and, if done right, will have benefits for all of New Zealand, not just Auckland and Northland.

“Nobody is keen on spending too much longer developing lengthy reports but this is a once-in-a-generation project and widespread buy-in is important, as is the need to make the best decisions for the long-term prosperity of our supply chain.”

Jones said he expects to report back to Cabinet in May 2020.

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