Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says moving Auckland's port is not a question of if, rather a question of when.

This comes as the final report into the future of the port has been handed back to ministers.

According to TVNZ, the report concluded that Auckland's current port operations are "no longer economically or environmentally viable".

Speaking to the AM Show this morning, Ardern said there was a certain inevitability when it comes to moving the port, the questions is at what point it moves. Photo / Marty Melville.
Speaking to the AM Show this morning, Ardern said there was a certain inevitability when it comes to moving the port, the questions is at what point it moves. Photo / Marty Melville.

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This raises the question of the port moving to another location, as had been suggested in the past.

Neither Ardern nor Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters have had a detailed look at the report yet and it hasn't gone through Cabinet.

But Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones this morning confirmed that the report did, indeed, say Auckland was no longer a viable option for the port.

The report means the massive transition could begin by December of next year, with completion of the move as early as 2029.

Speaking to the AM Show this morning, Ardern said there was a certain inevitability when it comes to moving the port, the questions is at what point it moves.

"Is it 20 years, is it 30 years, is it 10 years?"

In the past, Ardern had made no secret of the fact she did not think the port should expand any further into Auckland's harbour.

In the New Zealand First and Labour coalition agreement, the Government agreed to: "Commission a feasibility study on the options for moving the Ports of Auckland, including giving Northport serious consideration".

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The completion of the report means that agreement has now been fulfilled.

But the question as to what happens next is still up in the air.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson said he still has questions he would like to see answered before the Government could consider moving the port.

"Clearly as we look to the future, and the Ports of Auckland acknowledge this themselves, as the nature of shipping changes, they don't have the capacity from the 2020-2030s onwards to be the kind of deep water port that's needed," he told media this morning.

New Zealand First has been keen to move the port to Northland.

But Robertson said there needs to be a full analysis of that before any commitments are made.

Asked if he was pleased with the report's recommendation, Peters said: "Well I don't just think that, the reality is that the people of Auckland don't think that".

"The chance of expansion for the Auckland port is zero – we all know that."

Jones said he had had some negative feedback on moving the port from the people who import cars that if the port is moved, their business may be hit.

NZ First Leader Winston Peters said: The people of Auckland will be pleased with the report's recommendations Photo / Mark Mitchell
NZ First Leader Winston Peters said: The people of Auckland will be pleased with the report's recommendations Photo / Mark Mitchell

"But I would say to Aucklanders, 'don't surrender to the profit margins of the car importers',"

But National Leader Simon Bridges is doubtful anything will come from the report.
"There will be lots of talk, there will be lots of Shane Jones hot air but not a lot else."

He said there were still a number of important questions which need to be answered, including how much will it cost, where it might move to and who would own it.

"I doubt they would have been given the serious sort of thought that's needed in the working group Shane Jones has set up."

And he said that was "the kicker".

"This is being driven by politics and by New Zealand First, rather than good, sensible thinking and working through what could and should happen."