Wellington, May 17, 2018
Labour would strongly oppose the sell-off of the Ports of Auckland to fix a short term cash crisis caused by the Government blocking the city’s requests for new ways to fund infrastructure.
National Party proposal
National has blocked every request Auckland Council has made for new sources of revenue to invest in desperately needed infrastructure, including road pricing and a regional fuel tax. And now the usual cheerleaders for privatisation are telling the Council to flog off the port company to fund the infrastructure deficit.
Of course, the merchant bankers and the international investors will be salivating at the chance to sink their teeth into the port but let’s stop for a second and think about what’s good for New Zealand.
North Island Ports
The country needs the future of the upper North Island ports to be resolved on the basis of what’s good for the long term prosperity of New Zealand. Privatising the port now could jeopardise that process.
Labour in Government will put in place a national freight strategy that will involve all the stakeholders in an evidence-based decision making process on the future of the upper North Island ports – Auckland, Tauranga and Northport.
Any potential buyers of the Auckland port company need to factor that into their due diligence.
Getting the upper North Island ports sorted out, in the long-term interests of the whole country, is too important to be put at risk by a short term move to sell the port company for a one-off benefit.
Phil Twyford is elected Member of Parliament Te Atatu and Labour Party’s Spokesperson for Auckland Issues.