Fuseworks Media

Broad political support for port lease and Auckland Future Fund – Auckland Council

The last of in-person submissions have been made today to Auckland Council’s Budget Committee on the region’s Long-term Plan, or 10-year Budget.

A regional wealth fund for Auckland-the Auckland Future Fund-was a popular proposal in the LTP that submitters spoke to. The Auckland Future Fund’s initial capitalisation of $3-4 billion would come from leasing out the operations of the Port of Auckland while retaining ownership of port land and by transferring the poorly performing Auckland Airport shares into the fund. Holding onto these shares does not give Auckland Council any say in the operations of the airport.

It is expected the fund could return 7.5% annually, with 2% being reinvested each year to maintain the real value of the fund. 5.5% would be distributed across the council group to pay for a variety of services.

The fund would provide a better return on investment from Auckland Council’s assets, make provision for climate change risks through self-insurance, help mitigate rate rises for Aucklanders, and provide a timeframe for the release of port land for better public use. It will provide:

  • A better return on ratepayer dollars invested and more consistent returns than investing in a single asset.
  • Diversification of market (investing in multiple companies) and geographic locations adds protection to intergenerational assets and their value. The Auckland Airport is at risk of flooding; the port is exposed to a tsunami.
  • The 35-year lease provides certainty for both port workers and users.
  • The lease can include protections for workers and the environment.
  • There would be provisions for self-insurance against climate change risks.

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown says the lease of the port and the fund are part of the long-term plan for the waterfront. The proposal being consulted on would reduce the port footprint and release prime waterfront land to Aucklanders. It includes two wharves being transferred immediately and then the 14.5-hectare Bledisloe Wharf within 15 years.

“I want Auckland to have the most beloved waterfront of any harbour city in the world that is both physically and financially resilient. Leasing the operation of the port ensures public ownership of waterfront land, a better return on ratepayer money via a productive port, and a timetable for the release of port land for better public use.”

He welcomes support from a diverse group of civil society groups for the leasing of the operations of the port and the Auckland Future Fund.

“We have carefully considered the interests of port workers, users, and the environment to offer certainty and protections. I’m glad to see that reflected in the submissions: people putting aside their political differences and agreeing on a way forward. It’s about what makes sense for Auckland, ideologies aside.”

Among the submitters who specifically supported leasing the port if the money went into the proposed wealth fund were Generation Zero, the Employers and Manufacturers Association, Ngāti Tamaterā, Te Kotahi a Tāmaki-The Marae Collective, Vision West Community Trust, Auckland Ratepayers Alliance, Hapua Thrive, and Aktive.

– A Curia Market Research poll showed 61% support for establishing the proposed Auckland Future Fund to better manage investments to pay for council liabilities. 60% of respondents support leasing out the port operations while retaining port land to bring in higher returns on investment.

Aucklanders are encouraged to read the central proposal and the options in the full consultation document, then give feedback at akhaveyoursay.nz/ourplan

 

Powered by Fuseworks and Truescope - Media monitoring, insights and news distribution for New Zealand organisations.