Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Northland councils eager for more study of options

Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby. Photo / APN
Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby. Photo / APN

Auckland Council's partners in a study on upper North Island ports are up for more work to get the best out of the ports of Auckland, Tauranga and Northland.

Whangarei District Council and Northland Regional Council support the case for the next stage of the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) study, which last November found that the ports will experience strong growth but Auckland will face capacity constraints ahead of Tauranga and Northland.

Northland Regional Council growth infrastructure manager Vaughan Cooper and Whangarei District Council group manager for district living Paul Dell say the PwC report on freight needs for the Upper North Island Strategic Alliance (UNISA) does not answer a crucial question: What is the best investment for NZ Inc?

They say Northport's location at Marsden Point, with ample land and deep water access, means it is not subject to the external pressures on waterfront space faced by Auckland and Tauranga.

The two Northland councils want more detailed investigation into the different options and potential costs, including understanding the supply chain costs for a customer in Auckland using Northport rather than Ports of Auckland.

Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby says his council is looking forward to future collaborative projects being achieved through UNISA, saying it makes sense for the council to co-ordinate planning activities for things such as ports, transport, tourism and events.

The council is not aware of any further ports work occurring at a UNISA level, but would consider any proposals on its merits.

The PwC study, the council said, was not designed to produce business/investment cases for various scenarios, nor cost their commercial viability.

"The study was also not designed to make specific recommendations on how future freight demand should be met, or recommendations on specific infrastructure development sites," it said.

The Auckland Council was initially in favour of doing the second stage study of a review of development options looking at the wider impacts on the city, but abandoned that for a plan driven by the port company.

- NZ Herald

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