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Mayor calls on port to stop importing cars

Auckland leader tells company to devise a plan within less than six months to shift automotive activity out of the CBD.

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Newly elected Auckland mayor Wayne Brown has written to Ports of Auckland Ltd (POAL) telling it he no longer wants Bledisloe Wharf to be used for car imports and for the land to be available for public use.

Brown, who was voted into his role this month, sent a letter to POAL chairwoman Jan Dawson giving the council-owned company less than six months to come up with a plan to free up the area from the wharf to the Ferry Building.

He says the correspondence sets out several immediate priorities based on his election promises and the views of Aucklanders at hundreds of campaign events.

“There is no one who voted for me who should have been unaware of my view that car importation and container services should cease at the current site,” he adds.

Brown has asked POAL to work with mana whenua Ngāti Whātua Orakei and other business and community groups on a plan and timeline to develop that part of the port. He wants them to report back to him on the matter by March 31 next year, reports the NZ Herald.

“While a passenger terminal in the CBD and berth for coastal shipping will always be needed, our strategy must involve a plan for your car importation and container operations to vacate their current location on a fixed date in the future,” Brown says in his letter to Dawson.

Bledisloe Wharf is a main unloading point for vehicles and the port handled 240,544 units in the year to the end of July 2022.

Past studies have suggested shifting some of POAL’s business to either Northport or Manukau Harbour.

Motor industry associations have previously voiced concerns that shifting activity away from the present site risks adding costs and creating delays to the delivery of vehicles.

Brown adds that he plans to work with the government where necessary to remove any legal or regulatory barriers to the changes he is seeking.

He also wants POAL to move as quickly as possible to a 100 per cent rail solution to cut congestion and carbon emissions.

A POAL spokeswoman says Dawson has received the letter from Brown and will discuss it with the company’s board.

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