7 Jul 2020

Ports of Auckland fixed outcome suggestion 'disrespectful' - Shane Jones

From Checkpoint, 5:12 pm on 7 July 2020

New Zealand First MP Shane Jones says accusations that he influenced a report in support of moving the Auckland port north is "quite frankly mischief making".

Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones revealing the details on the $3 billion infrastructure spend on 1 July, 2020.

Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones revealing the details on the $3 billion infrastructure spend on 1 July, 2020. Photo: RNZ /Dom Thomas

Earlier today, another report was released recommending the port be moved south to Manukau or the Firth of Thames.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff backed those findings, saying the earlier report favouring a shift north was a shoddy opinion piece not based on facts. That report was completed by a government working group led by former Far North mayor Wayne Brown.

Minister of Transport Phil Twyford agreed, saying it had a pre-determined outcome overseen by Shane Jones.

Jones said he would not publicly comment on the Minister of Transport's accusations, "because my leader expects that I act with class".

"Two-hundred years of shipping has led the industry to the east coast, Phil Goff in this most recent report wants us to come into the Manukau Harbour against any advice from the shipping industry, presumably to dock near the Mangere sewage pond where I suggest he start transforming and converting that water into his new source of drinking water."

He said he wanted to be clear that the report was derived from the mandate through the Coalition agreement, "which is why I will not respond publicly to anything attributed to Mr Twyford."

The Brown report was assembled by "some of the finest minds" dealing with logistics who were "Strong and independent New Zealanders", including the KiwiRail boss and engaged more than 80 stakeholders, he said. 

"Any suggestion that they were coward because of the New Zealand First political position is quiet frankly mischief making.

"Any suggestion that it was written on the back of a cigarette paper, I think is grossly disrespectful to the minds that made contributed to the report and overlooks the fact that this report was agreed to through the Coalition agreement, that's how it derived its mandate to proceed.

However, he said he was not hiding the fact that as a New Zealand First politician he had campaigned for the port to move north.

"Mr Brown and his experts came to their own conclusions but don't for a moment think that as a New Zealand First politician I haven't campaigned on that outcome, my leader and I are on record of that, and it would be quite frankly evasive not to admit that."