Lack of planning for Auckland’s three harbours – report wants integration

Press Release – Committee For Auckland
The Committee for Auckland is strongly recommending that Auckland Council address a lack of planning for the region’s three harbours: the Waitemata/Hauraki Gulf, Kaipara and Manukau harbours.

The Committee today released a report, Three Waters: Auckland as a Maritime City, which urges the Council to lead the development of a single integrated Marine Spatial Plan for all three harbours. It also recommends a review of governance arrangements, which it describes as complex and inefficient.

Executive Director Heather Shotter says the report addresses the lack of planning to address issues and opportunities in the region’s marine environments, particularly as the population increases over the next thirty years.

“The Unitary Plan proposes a marine spatial plan for the Waitemata and Hauraki Gulf only. It does not address the environments and unique opportunities present in the Kaipara and Manukau harbours.

“Ignoring the social and economic potential of these harbours, and the likely impact on them through Auckland’s growth, is like writing an Auckland Plan which excludes Waitakere,” Shotter says.

Three Waters examines the opportunities, issues and potential trade-offs involving in managing the region’s harbours, including marine governance, environmental integrity, business opportunities, sector development and recreational use.

The report finds that governance of the harbours is fragmented because too many agencies, including central and local government bodies, have responsibility for their commercial and recreational use. The report urges Auckland Council to take a stronger leadership position and, with central Government, review the current governance arrangements.

Shotter says that once a single integrated Marine Spatial Plan is complete it should be implemented though a simplified governance authority.

Three Waters also recommends the swift completion of the second stage of the Upper North Island Strategic Alliance (UNISA) Port study.

“We need a sound methodology to provide answers to whether stacking containers on the harbour’s edge is the best use of prime waterfront real estate, whether there are credible and affordable alternatives and what are the costs and benefits of releasing the port land for alternative use ” says Ms Shotter.

The Committee for Auckland engaged Covec to review the main national benefits and costs of alternative scenarios regarding the future of a cargo port on the Auckland CBD waterfront. The review considered two alternative scenarios: transformation and expansion.

A key recommendation of the Three Waters report is for UNISA to complete Stage Two of its investigation into the upper North Island’s long term freight requirements , including an examination of options for freight movement though Auckland, consideration of the relationship between the port and Auckland’s urban form, and the opportunity cost of each option.

In summary, the Committee for Auckland’s report states that coordinated planning and management of Auckland’s three harbours is needed to maximise the social, economic and tourism benefits of the city’s unique geography.

“One comprehensive Marine Spatial Plan of all three harbours will provide a planning framework and knowledge base that will create a city for the future worthy of the next generation of Aucklanders and New Zealanders” says Ms Shotter .

Copies of the Three Waters Report and a summary of the Covec study into future scenarios for the Ports of Auckland are available on the Committee’s website www.committeeforauckland.co.nz
ENDS

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