10 May 2013

Scaled back plan for Ports of Auckland

9:58 pm on 10 May 2013

The Ports of Auckland has released its scaled-back expansion proposal for public feedback.

The company met with strong public opposition when it announced plans last year to extend Bledisloe Wharf by 300 metres and reclaim 22 hectares of land in Waitemata harbour.

The two options in the new proposal are to either expand by 5.5 or 6.6 hectares instead.

Ports chief executive Tony Gibson says it needs to expand to cope with the increase in population, and the expected rise in freight being imported and exported.

Mr Gibson says this proposal strikes a good balance between the need to cater for Auckland's growth and the community desire to preserve its natural assets.

Auckland Council voted in April not to endorse any plans until the Ports of Auckland had a chance to find out what the public think of them.

People have a until June 9 to submit their feedback on the proposal.

Maritime Union won't oppose hiring of workers at Auckland port

Meanwhile the Maritime Union says it will no longer oppose Ports of Auckland hiring and training new staff.

Since last year, there have been court orders restricting the port company from hiring staff or contracting out work, as part of a long-running industrial dispute with the union.

But union president, Garry Parsloe, says the union will not fight a request from the company for the Employment Court to lift the orders next week.

Mr Parsloe says the union had planned to oppose the request, but had a change of heart after the company said it would not hire contractors, and would discuss its hiring plans with the union.

Chief executive of Ports of Auckland, Tony Gibson, says he welcomes the union's decision.

Union and port representatives will meet for three days of facilitation in early June to try to end their dispute, which has now been running for 18 months.