Upper North Island Freight Story

What is the Freight Story all about?

The Upper North Island Freight Story (the Story) is a process of high level, up front, freight focused, conversations between central and local government organisations, and the private sector. The Story focuses on the key issues and opportunities to collectively help deliver freight efficiencies to reduce the cost to do business in the upper North Island. Improving freight productivity and efficiency will help grow the economy.  The Story comprises two key documents:

  • Summary of Critical Issues
  • Shared Evidence Base for the Critical Issues

New Zealand is a trading nation, exporting and importing significant quantities of goods from all over the world. We are also distant from our markets and freight transport costs are a sizable component of the total trading costs for New Zealand.  Freight costs affect the price we pay for the goods we buy and the profits our importers and exporters receive for the goods they buy and sell in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.

The freight task is growing and improving freight efficiency is a key Government policy outcome for land transport. Improving freight efficiency reduces the cost of trade, which can result in reducing the cost of goods for all New Zealanders and increasing the competitive advantage for our country’s importers and exporters.

Improved freight efficiency, especially better and more reliable access to new or existing markets, can also grow trade and create new business opportunities. This will grow our economy and our wealth as a country.

Why is it called a story and not a plan or a strategy?

The intent is it is just that, ‘a Story’, but a factual Story built by each of the partners bringing their part (of the story) to the table.  The strength of the Story is in the collaborative way it has been developed, the identification of key pan-regional issues at an upper North Island scale and the development of shared evidence to ensure we have a common focus and base of information. It does not bind partners to particular outcomes, and it is a collective response at a point in time looking purely through a freight lens in an upper North Island context.

The Story intentionally doesn’t focus on all the answers but sets an agreed platform from which the Story partners can continue to build on from with wider public and private sector stakeholders. It is not a regulatory document, formal plan or strategy for the future, nor is it about investment priority or direction.

The Story was developed by the following partners:

  • Upper North Island Strategic Alliance (Northland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty Regional Councils and Whangarei District, Hamilton and Tauranga Councils and Auckland Council)
  • Auckland Transport
  • KiwiRail
  • The NZ Transport Agency

Why does the Story only focus on Freight? What about other landuse and transport issues?

Freight is a high priority for the Government as well as for regional and local councils and industry in the upper North Island. Given the freight task is expected to double by 2035 across these four regions, it was important that significant decision makers worked together on an agreed focus.

What are the seven critical freight related issues raised in the Story? 

  1. Lack of shared and accurate data
  2. Strategic road and rail network constraints
  3. Delivery of High Productivity Motor Vehicle (HPMV) programme
  4. Utilisation of industrial land
  5. Lack of strategic, integrated land use and transport planning and investment
  6. Need to understand costs of freight supply chains for critical industries in the upper North Island
  7. Challenging local government and central government funding structures

What is the Shared Evidence Base?

A shared evidence base has been developed by the ten partner organisations to provide decision makers with a greater depth of information relating to the critical issues and will be used as a key reference for any relevant freight related decisions by the partner organisations.

This is a separate document supporting the Summary of Critical Issues.

What is the Story going to be used for?

The Summary of Critical Issues and the Shared Evidence Base will be used by the partners to help inform discussions and decisions about land use, transport and infrastructure planning and investment, including the development of an Upper North Island Freight Plan, which will be facilitated with the sector by the NZ Transport Agency.

The collaborative approach taken and the wide availability of the Story output means the partners and stakeholders can engage with each other using collective, credible information.  This will help all involved have informed discussions on key issues and questions raised by the Story work.

Download your copy

You can download a copy of the Upper North Island Freight Story - Shared Evidence Based Document and the Upper North Island Freight Story - Summary of Critical Issues, below.

Due to the size of the Shared Evidence Based Document, it has been split into two parts; pages 1-63 and pages 64-115.

Upper North Island Strategic Alliance (UNISA)