November 2017 - Chairman's Report

17 Nov 2017, 9:04 AM

Strategic issues:

New Government and Economic Development

New Zealand has a new government and we look forward to working with the new ministers who have been appointed by the Labour led government.

We certainly welcome the new government’s emphasis on regional development and will be working towards ensuring that Northland gets its fair share of the projected $1 billion per year set aside initially.

The Taitokerau Northland Economic Action Plan that has been put together in recent years with a huge amount of community and industry sector input should provide the blueprint that the new government can use as a starting point for Northland. The top priority identified in that plan was a four-lane highway running right through to Whangārei. So we are hoping that the new government will recognise the critical importance of this transport artery in its own plans for the region.

One of the other significant ‘enablers’ for economic development is digital connectivity, which includes fast broadband and minimal mobile phone blackspots. In the 21st century it doesn’t matter what kind of business that you are trying to operate, connectivity to one’s customers and to the rest of the world is vitally important.

Once the new ministers have had a chance to ‘get their feet under the table’ and get to grips with the nuances of their new portfolios we will be in touch with them to discuss the needs and aspirations of our region.

One of the proposals that has great attraction for Northland is the 1 billion trees concept. Northland has a great climate for growing trees and soils that badly need the stability that judicious planting can provide. So we look forward to progressing this proposal over the next few years.

Treaty Settlements

It is to be hoped that the new government is able to unlock some of the treaty settlement
discussions that seem to have stalled in Northland. Northland’s large Māori population really deserve to see those negotiations progress positively. We will watch this space.