Northland is welcoming a recommendation that Ports of Auckland closes and moves all its freight to Northport. The Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy, headed by former Far North mayor Wayne Brown, made the recommendation in its second interim report released on Thursday. When the plan is refined into a final report it will go to the Cabinet next month.
This shift would be New Zealand's most ambitious infrastructure project ever proposed, costing $10 billion, including a $1.6 billion rail line to Marsden Point, a freight hub in northwest Auckland, a major expansion of Northport and bringing forward the four-laning of State Highway 1 to Whangārei.
Northland would gain at least 2000 extra jobs each year worth $200 million over 30 years, although the full benefit could be as high as $2.7 billion over 30 years. Many of those jobs would move from Auckland to Northland, which was expected to have a big impact on the north but a small impact on Auckland, given the relative size of their economies.
Barry Truss, the chairman of community-led group Prosper Northland Trust, said the plan would be "huge" for the already growing Northland region.