Auckland mayoral candidate Phil Goff is promising to move the city's port and turn the waterfront land into upmarket residential, high-value commercial and public spaces.

Mr Goff is today launching his "Protecting the Waitemata" policy, which will include a commitment to stop Ports of Auckland from reclaiming any more of the harbour.

"My commitment is to restore Aucklanders' access to this prime waterfront site, so that people, rather than imported cars, get to enjoy its natural beauty," Mr Goff said.

"I believe that some, and eventually all, the port's functions should be moved to an alternative site."

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The port occupies 75ha of prime CBD waterfront land, which includes car storage, containers and a tank farm.

Yesterday, Mr Goff would not say where his preferred alternative site would be.

"A regional and national ports strategy is needed to determine the best way to configure the ports of Auckland, Whangarei and Tauranga so we achieve the best outcome," he said.

A Future Port study set up after last year's public campaign against wharf extensions is underwayand will look at the economic, social and environmental impacts of the port on the wider city.

It had shortlisted the Manukau Harbour, Firth of Thames and Muriwai as possible alternatives for a new port.

"It could be one of them, or a combination ... a final decision cannot be made until all considerations relating to port locations can be fully analysed," he said.

"My support for relocating the port is based on the success of other cities that have shifted their ports away from their city centres - Wellington, Sydney, Vancouver and London." Mr Goff said estimates for relocating the port were between $3 and $5 billion.

Mayoral rival Vic Crone's port policy also looks at relocating the port. She told the Committee for Auckland on May 4: "As mayor I will commit to leading a robust decision-making process to seek out a new home and transition our port there."

Another of Mr Goff's rivals, Mark Thomas, said the city had higher priorities right now rather than relocating the port.

"Improved rail servicing on the existing line and upgrading the Grafton Gully road corridor are priorities I will advance."

Port of uncertainty

• Two main mayoral candidates want Auckland's port relocated

• Wharf extensions into harbour drew public furore last year

• 75ha of prime CBD waterfront land occupied by the port

• Ports of Tauranga and Ngati Whatua last year called for car imports to be moved

• Port opponents stopped expansion of Bledisloe Wharf after a historic court victory last June

• Residential, commercial and public spaces could replace port