Yesterday, the Herald editorial railed against POA on the grounds that the expansion was unnecessary, costly and would ‘would, inevitably, diminish the Waitemata's visual splendour’.
Capacity constraints at the Port of Auckland feature high on the list of those eager to justify its expansion through further reclamation of the Waitemata Harbour. They were the focus of an Institute of Economic Research report commissioned by the Auckland Council, the port's sole shareholder. Now, they also underpin a proposal from the City Centre Integration Group that would see the Captain Cook Wharf extended to handle large cruise ships, and the Bledisloe Wharf enlarged to compensate for the resulting lack of freight space.
What was truly gobsmacking was that the mayor was absent for the vote. This is one of the most crucial issues facing the Council yet he felt it was more appropriate to be at the opening of the Cricket World Cup in Christchurch leaving his hapless deputy in charge. This alone tells the ratepayers about where the Mayor's priorities lie, and it's not with Auckland.
Equally bewildering for the hard-pressed Auckland ratepayer is that the Council has spent tens of millions turning Queen’s Wharf into a cruise ship terminal when, in light of the Council vote, this project will be abandoned.
All too recently, the council spent $16.8 million refurbishing Shed 10 on Queens Wharf as a cruise-ship terminal. That would become redundant. A new terminal would have to be built at Captain Cook. This is deemed necessary because Queens Wharf cannot handle the increasing number of cruise ships of more than 290m.
Ports of Auckland has won a huge victory allowing it to use more of the Waitemata Harbour to park cars after Auckland councillors yesterday caved in on tough rules for reclamation.
Councillors also voted 16-5 yesterday to delay a decision on a central wharves strategy that involves further reclamation of the harbour in exchange for turning Captain Cook wharf into a cruise ship terminal.
It is this failure of leadership to be financially responsible that is leading the city into bankruptcy. Ratepayers are paying through the nose whilst the Mayor and left wing Councillors waste ratepayers' hard earned cash on pet vanity projects. Worse, they insist on throwing good money after bad. Let's hope they are confined to the waste bins of history at the next election.