Thursday, November 29, 2012

Do we really need a bigger port in Auckland?

An efficient and large port is most definitely needed in Auckland because it is an important entry and exit point for many New Zealand businesses. Auckland being the largest city needs such an enterprise, but does it need to further expand, making the surrounding roads and railways busier than they need to be; clogging up the free flow for the rest of us?
I am obviously not an economist and my position maybe somewhat naive. I base what I say on gut feeling and a little bit of knowledge about New Zealand as whole.
Many have been saying for ages that Auckland is becoming disproportionately large and the remainder of New Zealand is losing out as a result. Would it not be better to enlarge regional ports like Tauranga, Northland, Gisborne, Napier and Taranaki? (and others in the South Island). Surely those ports serve as export ports and to a certain degree, receivers of overseas goods. The two nearer ports could serve as ‘satellites’ for the upper and central North Island.
The jobs created would not go amiss and the railways that are not operating to capacity would benefit from the business, satisfying the presents Government’s obsession with ‘making ends meet.’
The link between ports and railways is a sensible one; taking off the roads some of the huge trucks that scare the hell out of unsuspecting drivers. The cost on our road infrastructure could benefit from the lessened need to ‘refurbish’ them all the time; a direct result of large trucks. The accident rate caused by trucks and inpatient car drivers may also take a dip.
Regional development has been an evergreen issue for many decades. We must take every opportunity to make this a reality and the concentration of services in the Ports of Auckland plays directly against this possibility.
I say no to any expansion of the port into the Waitemata Harbour for another obvious reason. Aucklanders love their incredible sparkling harbour and they do not want to see it become no more than a river. For recreational and environmental reasons alone, but with the added possibility of incentivising regional development, we must send the message to any ‘enlargement of the port believers’ that---- no--- keep your greedy hands off our special harbour!