December 2017 - Chairman's Report

6 Dec 2017, 12:22 PM

Strategic issues:

Northport

Growing Northport's role was a hot topic during the recent election. The new Labour led government has now announced that there will be an extensive and comprehensive study of transport flows and future requirements carried out before any major decisions are made.

Given the amount of capital involved in transport infrastructure NRC strongly supports making those large capital investment decisions based on a comprehensive business case.

For a whole host of reasons, including economic and environmental ones, the future of
container shipping will be the large 9000+ TEU container ships. One of these ships can carry a whole week of New Zealand's entire export product in one load. The required brief unloading and reloading times with a minimum number of stops in any one country means that large amounts of cargo need to be brought to a single loading point.

For Northport to play a larger part in the New Zealand shipping story in the future, it will need to expand its current facilities. Northport's decision to go out to the community now to get support for its expansion plans is very timely. Can I encourage everyone with an interest in Northland's future development to get involved and have a say in this important discussion.

Economic development

The new government’s commitment to economic development in the regions is particularly welcome. Northland is very well placed to benefit from this commitment, not only because we have three ministers in the new cabinet from Northland, but because Northland has an already well-developed economic development action plan (Taitokerau Northland Economic Action Plan) that is owned by the region and not by central government.

The projects on that Action Plan have widespread community, industry and local government support. Central government funding assistance for many of these projects will be very welcome.