The stand-off between Ports of Auckland and Auckland Council over a political call to stop work on two wharf extensions enters its fourth week today, with no sign of a solution in sight.
The Ports board is meeting today when it will discuss a letter that "strongly suggests" that no further work be done on the extensions until a wide-ranging port study is done.
Board chairman Graeme Hawkins yesterday said the board was working through the implications of the letter from the council body that monitors its plans and financial performance, but did not know when it would respond.
On March 30, council chief executive Stephen Town wrote to Auckland Council Investments (ACIL) asking it to "encourage" Ports bosses to halt extensions until the study was done. In turn, ACIL wrote another letter to the Ports board to strongly suggest a halt to works.
Enabling works have begun on the $22 million extensions. Main works have not started. Mr Hawkins said the board had some points of clarification with the ACIL letter.
The Ports board, which is under sustained public and political pressure to stop work on the wharf extensions, was not trying to build monuments, Mr Hawkins said.
He said there were genuine and urgent reasons for the extensions.
They were needed to provide longer berth space for bigger ships which the shipping lines wanted certainty about from late 2016 and 2017.
He said the port company had agreed to dismantle the wharf extensions if the port study found they were not needed or the port was to move.
Even having the extensions in place for a couple of years would be worth more than the $22 million cost of building them and the costs of dismantling them, Mr Hawkins said.
Auckland Mayor Len Brown was not impressed when ACIL and Ports suggested discussions would continue, but there is now a feeling at the council that the issues are complex and should not be rushed.
Where to for the Ports?
• Political call to halt wharf extensions into fourth week.
• Ports board meets today.
• No decision likely on extensions.