Contender for Super City Mayor John Banks has made no bones about where he want an Auckland Convention Centre and cruise ship terminal - Bledisloe Wharf - chewing one more large chunk off Ports of Auckland. But wait there is more. Banks also wants Ports of Auckland to merge with Ports of Tauranga and Northland Port and move non Auckland freight - a large slab if not a majority of it - out of our waterfront. Daring, Radical and John Banks - well if he is right what does it matter if he is Right. The Ports of Auckland must go to let us have our waterfront back to develop a truly marvelous city, with all the things a marvelous city needs - convention centre, theatres and places for people to walk by the water.
ARL chair Mike Lee is having none of it. "Silly and Scatty" says Lee. Auckland has a "maritime heritage he claims - well it might be - but his bit of it is a desert of cranes, containers, dodgy Japanese cars and trucks we less and less need - the real maritime heritage is at the other end of the waterfront. A large proportion of what POL cranes across its ever expanding fiefdom stays nowhere near this city. Tourism Auckland has pointed the income tourism earns - $3 billion - and predicts how that would grow with an people orientated waterfront. Mayor Banks is buying that. So far Ports of Auckland have produced no similar figures that benefit Auckland and from any they do, you would have to deduct the continuing cost of congested urban infrastructure and its continuing expansion for Port generated needs alone - the net figure would be grim. Lee also mentioned that we had to "crowbar" Queens Wharf out of the Port - he doesn't explain why we had to crowbar and pay for an asset we already own.
Go for it John Banks - this issue will get you a lot of friends who, to be frank, my be surorised by that.