Herald editorial slams Len Brown over Ports of Auckland

If you ever wanted to justify to yourself that Len Brown and his staff are telling porkies and that they are out of touch with reality then today’s Herald editorial sums it up.

Firstly Len’s story has changed. His reasons why the Council can’t change the activity status of a port extension is quite different to the story his PR peeps pitched a few weeks ago.

Mayor Len Brown has placed great emphasis on his hands being tied over the Ports of Auckland’s expansion plans because of rules inherited from the old Auckland Regional Council. These, he insists, meant the Auckland Council could neither decline resource consent nor dictate the proposal be publicly notified. That is disputed by former ARC chairman Mike Lee who says the council had the power to demand a public hearing in “special circumstances”. Either way, many Aucklanders have become extremely angry over Mr Brown’s intimation there is nothing he can now do. ?

Rightly, they refuse to accept consent to construct two finger wharves 100m out from the end of Bledisloe Wharf cannot be overturned. The council, in fact, has every reason and the means to stop further encroachment into the Waitemata. The reason is provided by the mounting protest against the port company’s plan. Any thought objectors numbered a few and could be easily fobbed off was rendered nonsensical by last weekend’s protest. The 2000 people and 300 boaties who demanded an immediate halt to the extensions reflected the widespread discontent.

The means available to the council are equally self-evident. For the past decade, it has been the sole owner of Ports of Auckland. In that role, it need not interfere in the day-to-day operations of the port but the company remains answerable to the council, which must also take responsibility for the wider interests of Auckland and Aucklanders. In terms of those interests, the council should provide clear direction. Unfortunately, prevarication has characterised its approach to the port. That must stop, and pressure must be applied to pull the Ports of Auckland board into line.

But mostly Len is out of touch with reality.

Stubbornly he refuses to accept that the expansion is a dumb idea and that – as owner – Ports of Auckland can be stopped by its shareholder the Auckland Council.

That Len and his merry men don’t want to stop them is telling.


– NZ Herald