In the ongoing war of words over whether the freight port should be moved out of Auckland, port company chief executive Tony Gibson argued today that closing it would add $533-626 million/year to the cost of imports.
Mr Gibson, chief executive of Ports of Auckland Ltd, released the results of a study by independent economic consultancy the NZ Institute of Economic Research (NZIER).
The study found multiple negative regional & national impacts such as over $1.2 billion/year in reduced gdp nationally, fewer exports (putting jobs at risk) & less investment.
“Closing Auckland’s port will also increase carbon emissions because freight must travel further by land to reach market in Auckland. CO₂ emissions will rise between 121-212,000 tonnes/year.
“Some people claim that closing Auckland’s port would not increase prices, but this is not true. Currently, the price of imports through distant ports like Tauranga is kept low by competition. Think of it as the ‘Gull effect’ for ports. Just as opening a Gull petrol station lowers prices at stations nearby, having a port in Auckland keeps import prices low.
“I am also very concerned about the increase in carbon emissions that would be caused by using distant ports to handle Auckland’s freight. This does not seem to be in line with the aims of the Zero Carbon Act, nor does it seem wise given the urgent need to tackle climate change.”
Mr Gibson said the port company had released the NZIER report “because we believe a decision on the location of the port for our nation’s largest city should be based on facts”.
Note: This is one small element of an overall debate on freight & waterfront use which is being argued heatedly by vested interests. Like the positioning of airports, it will determine where businesses think they should be based.
Attribution: Ports of Auckland release, NZIER reports.