THE MARITIME Union of New Zealand has voiced its concerns about reports that DP World is considering leasing options for Ports of Auckland.

Local media reports that DP World executives could be in New Zealand next week for talks with the port’s current owner, the Auckland Council.

MUNZ national secretary Craig Harrison says there is no need for discussions, as Ports of Auckland have “a great future” as a public asset.

He said after a decade of mismanagement, the ports are now back on track to deliver to the people of Auckland.

“The previous problems of the ports were not caused by public ownership, but by lack of oversight by the owner and board of the previous management and their bad decisions,” he said.

Mr Harrison said it is not clear under whose authority Auckland Council staff are engaging with DP World.

He said the union is one of many stakeholders discussing the role of the ports with the new mayor of Auckland Wayne Brown.

“There is already a constructive discussion about the best way forward for the Ports, and to have these extra distractions flying around is not helpful,” he said.

Mr Harrison says the Maritime Union supports a continued role for the Ports of Auckland as a productive asset for Aucklanders and an essential hub in New Zealand’s supply chain.

He said New Zealand needs a long-term national ports strategy that integrates rail and coastal shipping, with a focus on supply chain resilience and low emissions.

Ports of Auckland has been beset by issues over the past several years. In early April, a new CEO was appointed after previous CEO, Tony Gibson, stepped down from the role in June amongst considerable controversy.

Mr Gibson announced his resignation in the wake of a damning report on safety at the port. The report was commissioned following several fatal accidents between 2017 and 2020.

More recently, the port halted a project to automate its Fergusson Container Terminal. The project commenced in 2016, with expected delivery in late 2019 ore early 2020.

DP World declined to comment for this article.