Pos­si­ble Ports of Auck­land sale catches iwi’s eye


Auck­land iwi Ngati Whatua Orakei has put its hand up if there are to be any talks of Auck­land Coun­cil sell­ing Ports of Auck­land.

The sur­prise sug­ges­tion came from Auck­land mayor Phil Goff when talk­ing to port staff this week, pos­si­bly in­volv­ing the coun­cil hold­ing onto the land and split­ting out the op­er­a­tional el­e­ment of the port.

How­ever, Ngati Whatua spokesman Ngarimu Blair said his peo­ple had long har­boured an am­bi­tion to buy back their former land and the Waitem­ata sea bed.

‘‘We have made this known over many gen­er­a­tions to ev­ery in­com­ing mayor and, more re­cently, sig­nalled this to Phil Goff be­fore and af­ter the elec­tion.’’

‘‘If the op­por­tu­nity arises we would like to buy it – we are the nat­u­ral owner and we would do the right thing by the city.’’

He said a con­sor­tium could be put to­gether with other iwi and the NZ Su­per Fund to help the coun­cil un­lock much-needed cap­i­tal for the city.

NZ Su­per Fund spokes­woman Cather­ine Etheredge said the fund had met with Ngati Whatua on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions but noth­ing for­mal had been dis­cussed.

‘‘We meet with Ngati Whatua and many other po­ten­tial coin­vestors on a reg­u­lar ba­sis and dis­cuss var­i­ous in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in­for­mally. We are not part of any con­sor­tium.’’

Ngati Whatua Orakei has be­come an ac­tive prop­erty player in Auck­land, own­ing about 160 hectares of land on the Ta­maki isth­mus and de­vel­op­ing af­ford­able hous­ing in Orakei.

Its as­sets in­clude AECOM House and lease­hold land in the Quay Park area.

Keep­ing the coun­cil-owned port in pub­lic own­er­ship was a hot topic dur­ing the lo­cal elec­tion and Goff cam­paigned to keep it in coun­cil hands.

But pre­vi­ous stud­ies have shown that coun­cil own­er­ship is con­strained in terms of ex­pand­ing the port, and pri­vate own­er­ship could be more con­ducive to recla­ma­tion and de­vel­op­ment.

Goff has since clar­i­fied that the port land was ‘‘not for sale’’ but that re­lo­cat­ing it could open up lots of de­vel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties.

‘‘My po­si­tion on the fu­ture of the port is ex­actly what I said dur­ing the cam­paign – I want to progress plans to re­lo­cate the port from the CBD and free up 77ha of land for pub­lic ac­cess to the water­front.’’

The port is said to be valued at $1.1 bil­lion.

‘‘If the op­por­tu­nity arises we would like to buy it.’’


Ports of Auck­land is the coun­try’s busiest port, with a record num­ber of cruise ships this year and the big­gest port for im­ports.

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