Auckland Council is worried the Auckland port could be compromised by the Government's working group on freight and ports in the Upper North Island.

The Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy Working Group, chaired by former Far North mayor Wayne Brown, has begun its work and is expected to report to cabinet around February next year.

But it has not yet heard from Auckland Council, which owns Ports of Auckland.

"It's like being a patient with the doctors talking over you, while you lie there as if you're already dead," said Mayor Phil Goff at a meeting of the council's planning meeting today.


Goff is worried that the working group may have a predetermined approach to the future of the ports in Auckland, Tauranga and Whangarei. In the general election last year, the NZ First leader, and now deputy prime minister, Winston Peters, proposed on several occasions that the car importing business of Ports of Auckland should be transferred to Northport, near Whangarei.

Goff made it clear to the planning committee he was not trying to say everything the Auckland port does now should remain with the Auckland port. But he wants its long-term future to be considered carefully and with due regard to all the relevant issues: economic, environmental and social.

"There are climate change issues," he said. "And obviously we have a lot to look at in terms of long-term capacity."

"Predetermination is wrong. They need to do the study properly and what we're doing is trying to help them produce a credible report."

The committee voted to send "a clear message" to the working group, when it meets on December 13. That message will stress "the need to protect and maintain the commercial value of the Ports of Auckland Ltd, as well as the other Upper North Island port companies and related industries".

The committee also resolved to advise the working group of its concerns that any future strategy should be based on "robust evidence and analysis". Including "detailed analysis of the two options identified for further exploration in Auckland's Port Future Study".

That future study produced a consensus report in 2015 that agreed on only two options for relocating the port: the Firth of Thames and the Manukau Harbour. It did not look at Northport or Tauranga in detail.

The council committee also expressed its concern about long-term feasibility of all the existing ports, the impacts of climate change, "mana whenua iwi values and aspirations", social and community impacts, supply chain efficiency, investment planning, engineering issues, funding, the wider implications of west coast and east coast locations, and the need for transparency.

In other words, while the council has kept its own options open on the future of the Auckland port, it fears the Government and its working group may be working to another agenda.

Goff will lead a delegation of councillors and advisers to the meeting of the working group on December 13.