31 Oct 2018

Napier Port sale consultation extended after mail fail

1:35 pm on 31 October 2018
Container ship in commercial port of Napier, New Zealand.

The Port of Napier. Photo: 123rf

The extension was decided at an emergency meeting between Hawke's Bay Regional Councillors and staff this afternoon.

The council, which owns the port, is proposing to sell up to 49 percent of the port through a sharemarket listing to pay for an upgrade of the port's infrastructure -and is halfway through a four week consultation period.

Hawke's Bay Regional Council chairman Rex Graham said council opted to use a private distribution company to hand deliver them, rather than sending by NZ Post.

"We're talking to them and asking what has gone wrong. We did go for a service provider that puts it into letter boxes and they use a lot of different people to do that and I guess the system sometimes breaks down a little bit."

It was not known how many people were still waiting for their consultation documents, he said.

"But I'm pretty sure it's gone to most."

Hawke's Bay Regional Councillor for Central Hawke's Bay Debbie Hewitt and Central Hawke's Bay Mayor Alex Walker were among the hundreds of residents still waiting for the consultation document to show up in the mail.

"And I'm aware of a number of people in Central Hawke's Bay who haven't either, so there may be some distribution problems," said Ms Hewitt.

A regional council spokesperson said it had taken some calls from members of the public who had not yet received their consultation booklets in the mail.

"Copies are also available online, at Regional Council offices or local libraries. We have held drop-in sessions in Waipukurau and Napier so far and we have another two this week, and the final two next week."

Meanwhile, Hastings District Councillors were meeting informally today to discuss whether they would be making a submission on proposed port sale.

A spokesperson for Napier City Council said it would be making a submission but further discussion was required with the council before it was prepared.

Napier Mayor Bill Dalton said he supported the partial sale, but he didn't think the whole 49 percent should be sold immediately.

"Look, I'm a retired stockbroker so I've looked at these things for years. There is only one option and that is to bring other investors into the Port.

"But in my view, it may not be the answer to sell 49 percent of it. That maybe too much, because the Port will need to expand at a future date again."

The Port should look at how much money it needed to raise and issue an appropriate amount of shares, he said.

"There is no point in selling 49 percent if they don't need the funding from that now. It might be that 30 percent is the answer."

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