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Northland Mayors Welcome New Road And Rail Links

hursday 30 January 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Northland Mayors Welcome New Road And Rail Links to Port Marsden; Plan New Infrastructure Campaign

The Mayors of the Far North, Whangarei and Kaipara have today spoken as one to welcome the Labour-New Zealand First Coalition’s commitment to Te Tai Tokerau, with this week’s historic announcements about new road and rail links to Port Marsden.

In the last 24 hours, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters have announced central government investments of $692 million to four-lane State Highway One from Whangarei to Port Marsden; and another $109.7 million for Northland rail, including $40 million to purchase land along the designated route of the spur line to Northport and Marsden Point.

“These are historic investments, the start of a decade-long economic transformation for Northland to make an ever-greater contribution to the prosperity of the Upper North Island and all of New Zealand,” Mayors John Carter, Sheryl Mai and Jason Smith said today.

“We are very grateful to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister for their leadership on behalf of the people of Northland.

“Too often, Wellington has behaved as if New Zealand ends somewhere just north of Albany, with Northland missing out on the infrastructure necessary for Te Tai Tokerau to reach its full potential.

“That has meant parts of our region continue to lag behind the rest of New Zealand on important economic and social indicators, creating an additional cost to taxpayers throughout the country in welfare benefits and other support.

“This week’s announcements are the start of Northland reaching its full potential to create wealth for all the people of Te Tai Tokerau and all New Zealanders.”

To this end, the Mayors said that, acting as private individuals, they would be launching a campaign in the weeks ahead for five projects to boost the Northland and wider North Island economies:

• A $240 million dry dock to enable ships from New Zealand and Australia to be serviced and repaired in Whangarei rather than have to make the long trip to Asia
• A new base for the Royal New Zealand Navy to replace that at Devonport, Auckland
• An expanded Northport to take the cars and containers currently entering New Zealand through the port in the Auckland CBD, and for exports from Northland and elsewhere
• The completion of a four-lane expressway from Whangarei to Auckland, including the planned four-lane highway to Port Marsden
• Fast-tracking a double-tracked rail line from West Auckland to Whangarei, including the planned spur to Port Marsden

“A unique set of economic and political circumstances have put all five projects within reach. The combination of all five projects is greater than the sum of the parts. It would be a disaster for Northland to let this opportunity be lost.

“The campaign we are planning will allow Northlanders to speak with one voice and say, yes, we want all five projects to start today.

“We also know that Aucklanders are desperate to see their city’s waterfront land in its CBD and in Devonport moved to more valuable uses and for their clogged roads to become free from container trucks going in and out of their central city.

“We seek a win-win-win for Northland, and for Auckland and the rest of New Zealand.”

The Mayors said they would provide more details on their planned campaign in the next few days. It will be launched with private not ratepayers’ funds.

END

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