It is disappointing the Mayor made his statements about the Ports of Auckland Board today prior to meeting with us. We repeat our invitation to the Mayor to visit the port to discuss the operations, economics, and its importance to Aucklanders.
The Mayor's comments creates uncertainty for the 3,000 Aucklanders, whose livelihoods depend on the port, and also for the thousands of businesses in Auckland and surrounding areas that rely on imports and an efficient supply chain.
Ports of Auckland is New Zealand's key import port which provides the quickest and most economic and carbon efficient entry point for goods required by Aucklanders. As an example, moving the cars to another port, either Northport or Tauranga will double the emissions of importing vehicles.
The port business is a valuable $2 billion asset owned by all Aucklanders and closing the port would see this wealth transferred to other regions.
As the Maritime Union said this afternoon "Ports of Auckland is too important to the country to be drawn into a local power struggle."
There is no doubt that the port in recent years has not performed be it from a safety operational and commercial perspective. This is changing with improved safety, operational and commercial performance. Throughput has improved by 30% since April 22. The Board are confident the port will meet and even exceed its Statement of Corporate Intent profit targets for FY23-FY25 and return dividends of $30m per annum for FY23 and $50m per annum in the medium term.
At the Mayor's request, the port has also commenced work on the examination of the use of the area between the Ferry Building and Bledisloe Wharf and will report on this to the Mayor on 31 March 2023.
There has been no reluctance in the past by the port to return the land to the community. Over the past 25 years we have returned 117hectares of land to Council. Any transfer needs to be economical and practical.
The Board and I look forward to welcoming the Mayor and Councillors on site to witness the scale of our operation, our improved safety measures and understand how critical this asset is to Aucklanders.