The Minister for Regional Economic Development must stop meddling in the operations of Ports of Auckland and allow it to make commercial decisions free of political interference, National’s Infrastructure spokesperson Judith Collins says.

“Shane Jones says he is seeking advice on whether the Government can stop the council-owned company from building a multi-level waterfront car handling facility because NZ First wants to relocate port services to Marsden Point.

“This is reckless behaviour from a Minister. Businesses need to know they can operate independently in their best commercial interests without being caught up in political games.

“Businesses can’t be expected to wait for one of the Government’s 180 working groups to report before making investment decisions. The facility isn’t a surprise because it was included in the Port’s 30-Year Master Plan published a year ago.

“The Port’s statement of corporate intent shows its primary objective is to operate as a successful business at arm’s length from its council owner. The Government has even less claim. I doubt the Greens will be happy at the huge environmental impact if cars were to come into North Port.

“An NZIER report from September 2017 found that the costs of moving the vehicle processing facilities away from Auckland would outweigh the benefits by $1 billion, including the loss of up to 10,000 jobs.”

“This sort of interference is exactly why businesses have no trust in this Government and its economic management.”

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