March 2017 - Chairman's Report

17 Mar 2017, 4:06 PM

Strategic issues

Ruakaka roundabout SH1.The biggest news for Northland this month was the announcement of the $500 million upgrade of State Highway 1 from Whangārei to the Ruakaka roundabout. This announcement follows hot on the heels of other good news stories for Northland's vital transport link to the rest of New Zealand. State Highway 15 announced towards the end of 2016 will over time see significant improvements to our inland freight route. More recently the NZ Transport Agency announced that it is planning to connect Northland to Auckland with a four lane highway.

But the good news does not stop there. Four of the promised 10 bridge upgrades are well underway along with the Whangārei to Kamo walkway/cycleway.

Consultants for the Section 17 A review of how we deliver economic development to the region have been appointed and have just begun the process of reviewing what we do and comparing it with best practice.

February and March seem to be the months of big announcements. The government's Clean Water Proposals have huge implications for regional councils and landowners. Northland in particular, with its unique blend of soils, topography and subtropical climate, puts us at a disadvantage compared with other regions in NZ. If Northland is to achieve the government's aspirations, we will need substantial taxpayer assistance.