Auckland mayoral hopeful John Tamihere says he'd like to sell the city's downtown port operation if elected.
The land should be kept and leased back to a new port operator, who would phase out downtown port operations over the next 25 years, he said
The move would give a much-needed cash injection to ratepayers and keep money coming in from the leased land, he said.
Retiring the port after 25 years would make better use of Northport, Tauranga and Onehunga ports, he said.
Leasing port operations is not unusual, with several Australian ports using the model.
Policies announced by mayoral hopefuls carried less weight than those made in central government elections because, even if elected, the mayor would not necessarily have the support of the majority of councillors.
Ports of Auckland said it did not comment on mayoral policies.
A government-appointed working group has been considering whether to move at least some of Ports of Auckland's work to other ports.
Auckland mayor Phil Goff said the policy was bizarre.
Aucklanders did not want their port sold off to a foreign interest and, even if they did, the uncertainty over the port's future meant now would be a bad time to sell, he said.
Mr Goff said he supported eventually moving the port and freeing up the waterfront for Aucklanders but would work with the government to find the best solution.