Ports of Auckland is sitting on land with a commercial value of $2.2 billion, far greater than its $76 million value for port use, says an economist.
What's more, the value of the land will rise to $3 billion in 10 years, says freelance economist Dr Aaron Schiff.
His figures are based on converting half of 61.6ha of port land, excluding wharves, for private use, with the remainder becoming public space. Dr Schiff has challenged Ports of Auckland's economic information in a paper written for the Committee for Auckland, an independent organisation of business leaders.
In a submission on the new Unitary Plan, the committee asks if the port is the best use for prime waterfront land.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
Dr Schiff said the port's economic information to justify its place in the prosperity of Auckland was flawed.
"They don't take into account wider benefits or costs of their decisions. In the port's case, this omits a lot of its effects on Auckland and New Zealand," Dr Schiff said.
He hoped the imminent study into the economic, environmental and social impacts of the port on the wider city by Auckland Council would ask the right questions to ensure a balanced and informed decision was made.
Nearly three years after deciding to make a long-term, wide-ranging study of the port, the council has started to scope the study. It has asked the port company to halt work on two large wharf extensions while the 12-month study is done, but the company is proceeding with the $22 million contract.
Today, councillors will consider four "immediate options" to resolve the public outcry and stand-off between the council and port bosses over the extensions.
They include allowing the port to proceed, the port downing tools while the study is done, and two compromises. The first is to proceed with the eastern extensions and reduce the western extension from 92m to 40m. The second is to build only the eastern extension and wait for the port study and new planning rules in the Unitary Plan before considering the western extension.