The suggestion of a port at Muriwai - one of Auckland's wild west coast communities sitting in a regional park - has been labelled "rubbish" and "weird".

Muriwai, at the southern end of an unbroken 50km stretch of beach and home to a large colony of gannets, is one of three short-listed options being considered for Auckland's long-term port activities.

The other options are the Manukau Harbour area and the Firth of Thames, within the Auckland region.

Phelan Pirrie, of the Muriwai Environmental Action Trust and Rodney Local Board member, today said it was part of a whole bunch of weird options and a "patsy thing" to be excluded at a later date.

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It was not only impractical with no hope of being viable, Mr Pirrie said, but the whole of Muriwai was sitting in a regional park.

Auckland councillor and environmentalist Mike Lee described the Muriwai option as "Auckland Council sponsored lunacy".

"Ratepayers are paying for this rubbish," Mr Lee said.

The three options were released by the Port Future Study's independent consensus working group, set up by the council following last year's battle over wharf extensions in the Waitemata Harbour for port use.

Group chairman Dr Rick Boven said the study's consultants, a consortium led by EY, have projected Auckland's long-term future freight and cruise needs and assessed what could be required in 50 years to accommodate it.

"Auckland is on a steep growth trajectory. With an expected population of at least 2.6 million and potentially quadrupling of freight trade in the next 50 years, Auckland will need a strategy to ensure freight can flow for continued trade and prosperity", said Dr Boven.

"The study's consultants have identified three options that could meet Auckland's future long-term freight and cruise needs, subject to further assessment.

"All of the shortlist options have complex challenges and implications. Each option continues to be assessed and is now progressing to a detailed cost benefit analysis. There is still analytic work to be done," Dr Boven said.

The shortlisted options, representing the next step in the consultant's ongoing technical analysis, are constraining Auckland's port to its current footprint, enabling growth of Auckland's port at its current location and continuing with the current site in the short-to-mid-term but in the mid-to-long term move the port to a new location.

The mid-to-long-term areas identified for further investigation are the Manukau Harbour area, Firth of Thames area (within the Auckland region) and Muriwai area.

Dr Boven said the next steps are to get feedback from the study's larger reference group, complete the cost benefit analysis of remaining options and test the assumptions of that analysis by peer review.

"Once we complete further analysis on the shortlist of options we will have a clearer picture of how each option stacks up on costs and wider economic effects. Some options are likely to be cost prohibitive," said Dr Boven.

The purpose of the Port Future Study is to provide recommendations to Auckland Council on a strategy to accommodate Auckland's long term future trade and cruise activities across the next 50 or more years. The consensus working group is not a decision making body.

The group will consider the consultants' findings as they continue to formulate their recommendations for a long term strategy to accommodate future freight and cruise demand, Dr Boven said.