Confidentiality for port project team

23:00, Jan 07 2013

The first act of a government team working on the proposed new port at Clifford Bay was to sign up key stakeholders to confidentiality agreements.

The Ministry of Transport said yesterday that management consultant Andrew Robertson had been appointed as commercial director to lead the project team on the Clifford Bay investigation.

Mr Robertson was a management consultant specialising in strategy and finance, business development, operations management and change management in infrastructure and energy, the ministry said. His previous experience included accountability for corporate strategy, offshore renewable energy development, acquisitions and the venture subsidiary portfolio of a major New Zealand energy business, understood to be Meridian Energy.

A ministry spokesman said the project team would build off the business case work completed last year.

"Before Christmas, the project team was successful in putting confidentiality agreements in place with most key stakeholders, and Mr Robertson is in the process of preparing the project team for detailed discussions with them."

Port Marlborough chief executive Ian McNabb confirmed yesterday the port company had received a confidentiality agreement from the ministry. It had been discussed by the company board in its meeting in late December, but he declined to say what the board had decided.


"I would need to go back to the ministry first before we tell anyone else what the board decided. I won't be doing that till next week."

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee said last year the Government felt the business case to move the interisland port from Picton to Clifford Bay, south of Seddon, was a strong one.

The new port was estimated to cost $422 million to build, and could cut the travel time between Wellington and Christchurch by 80 minutes by ferry and road and 110 minutes by ferry and rail.

Critics say the move would damage Picton, the wider Marlborough region, and Nelson.

Information on the ministry's website says it expected to deliver a package of information that includes advice to Mr Brownlee on whether to proceed with a ferry terminal at Clifford Bay or remain with the status quo within the next six months.

"The minister will consider the Ministry of Transport's report and make a decision on what action to take next."

The Marlborough Express