On Saturday, the Rangitata River overflowed its banks, cutting off the lower South Island.
With the West Coast route also closed, the South Island was effectively cut in two.
New Zealand has a fragile transport network, built on earthquake and flood prone islands a long way away from our neighbours. Despite this, the "Move the Port" brigade in Auckland reckon it's a good idea to have our largest city rely on a port 150km away over steep, slip-prone hill country. What could go wrong?
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I've read the spin from the Move the Port brigade, roping in respected and knowledgeable Aucklanders who have one thing in common: They're experts in their own fields but know little about logistics. It's a bit like asking a brain surgeon to fix your computer. They'll have a go but probably cock it up.
It'd be nice to have cafés along the waterfront, but there are consequences of closing the port. It doesn't become a good idea until all of those consequences are known and mitigated. I can't understand how the Move the Port misinformation is so readily accepted by otherwise sensible people.
Auckland's economy of scale for transport sets the price for the rest of the country. Auckland's volumes actually subsidise everyone else.
I'm also suspicious of the Move the Port campaign. Who is really behind it and who is funding their slick social media efforts?
I'm a truckie: I'd make money from a port relocation but I'm against the idea because it is dumb. But who are the others who would benefit financially from this? Developers?
In order to extract maximum value from port land, high intensity development will be needed. Yet most port movers are captivated by the image of being able to wander through trees and parks on café lined boulevards, with a gentle breeze wafting through the air. One of these groups is going to be disappointed.
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The logistics don't work. There's the heroic assumption that 70 per cent of freight will go on rail - which incidentally means 30 per cent still goes by truck on a narrow, winding road. Despite doing a good job with what they have, KiwiRail only just cope with Port of Tauranga's MetroPort volume.
To assume KiwiRail can build the infrastructure needed to handle double that volume from the north in 10 years is flawed. It's taken over five years to add one lane each way from Manurewa to Papakura.
The currently ramshackle line is single-track and can't fit high-cube containers through its tunnels.
The idea that the tunnels will disappear and that a single-track railway with a yet-to-be-built spur to Northport (over marshy tidal areas, through farmland, around steep hills and next to the newly developed residential One Tree Point Marina), will cope with double the volume from Tauranga seems equally far fetched.
To transfer all of the cargo to a 30-hectare rail yard in Kumeu, yet-to-be-built, over a single track line, running about 20 trains each way (40 trips) per day, seven days a week, also seems far fetched.
Ports and rail yards are very noisy, all day and night unlike super tanker discharges.
To think that somehow all the jobs at Ports of Auckland, (currently more than 1000 when other onport employers are counted, but misrepresented as 500), will disappear without any effect on those families seems unlikely.
More than 6000 people have daily access to the Auckland port currently, including all the truck drivers who collect from there. Their families will also be affected.
Traffic volumes around Auckland would increase substantially, not decrease. Trucks make up 6 per cent of traffic. There'll be fewer port trucks in the CBD, but no change to city delivery trucks and an increase in trucks (and cars) servicing the new high-intensity commercial development on the port land.
There'll be loads more trucks around the proposed Kumeu Marshalling and Shunting yard.
The total number of trucks will increase because all us truckies will have to buy more to cope with the increased driving distance from Whangarei.
Here's something no-one outside of logistics knows: Auckland's economy of scale for transport sets the price for the rest of the country. Auckland's volumes actually subsidise everyone else. When I set prices for large retailers, I must set the same transport price over the whole country so they can charge the same everywhere. Aucklanders pay a little more so the regions pay a lot less.
If we succumb to the most blatant political bribe in New Zealand's history, congestion will increase. Auckland prices will go up. Hard-working families around the country will pay more. Hard-working Auckland families will pay more, and their jobs will evaporate to the North. But none of that appears to matter to the selfish NIMBYs in central Auckland.
• Chris Carr is managing director of Carr & Haslam, which delivers cars and containers and has a staff of 70 and a fleet of 40 trucks. He was appointed to the Auckland Business Chamber board in 2007 and is a member of the Auckland Business Forum and a Director of Rally NZ. He was formerly a member of the Regional Land Transport Committee.