February 2019 - Chairman's Report

14 Feb 2019, 9:00 AM


Strategic issues

Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy

Government is currently conducting a review of transport logistics for the Upper North Island. The review is defined on the Ministry of Transport’s website which says that:

“Government is conducting a comprehensive Upper North Island logistics and freight review to ensure New Zealand’s supply chain is fit for purpose in the longer-term.

The review will guide the development and delivery of a freight and logistics strategy for the Upper North Island. This includes a feasibility study to explore moving the location of the Ports of Auckland, with serious consideration to be given to Northport.”

Our council has been invited to participate in the review and to that end, Chief Executive Malcolm Nicolson, Councillor John Bain as Chair of the Northland Regional Transport Committee, and I met with the Working Party just before Christmas to present our views.

The Working Party questioned us as to why Ports of Auckland and Port of Tauranga have grown significantly more than Northport in recent years. Clearly this is partly because of the geographic location of Northport, but more importantly because successive governments have not invested in the onshore transport infrastructure of road and rail that is necessary for Northport to play a greater part in the economy of the Upper North Island.

It is very clear that Northport has capacity that can be part of the solution to Auckland city’s expansion needs, but it will need significant investment in onshore transport infrastructure of road and rail from central government.

Relationship Agreement

The Northland Regional Council, the Far North District Council, and the Kaipara District Council, all signed an historic relationship agreement with Te Kahu o Taonui (which is the Northland Iwi Leaders Forum and similar to the Northland Mayoral Forum), at Waitangi on 31 January 2019.

This Agreement formalises the willingness of iwi leaders and local government leaders of Taitokerau at a governance level, to work together and collaborate on issues of mutual interest and/or benefit. It does not confer special privileges on to any one party, it builds on the governance structures that already exist.

To the best of our knowledge, this is the first relationship agreement to have been made in New Zealand between multiple iwi and multiple councils.

At this stage two iwi and the Whangarei District Council have chosen not to join the Agreement. However, the door is open for any of those organisations to join at a later stage if they so desire.

Warihi Hetaraka (Master carver), John Law, Sarah Petersen (FNHL Director) Bill Shepherd (Chairman NRC) John Carter (Mayor FNDC), Shaun Clarke (CEO FNDC), Matt King (National MP Northland) Pip Bolton (Architectural designer) at the signing of the relationship agreement. (Photo: Sue Shepherd).