NZ First leader, and Deputy Prime Minister, Winston Peters has provided a $40 million incentive for the Government to move the Ports of Auckland to Northport.

Although the Government is yet to decide where the port will move to, Peters – along with NZ First MP and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones – said the Government would buy land close to Northport to "secure a rail corridor for potential future development".

This comes after the chairman of the group tasked with investigating the movement of Auckland's Port said if the Government was to move the port to Northland, it would first need to invest in rail in the region.

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In a statement this morning, Peters said Northport was one of the only ports in New Zealand which was not connected by rail.

"Having this land means that when the Government does make its final decision about a future port in Northland, we will be ready to get going," Jones said.

The money comes from Jones' $3 billion Provincial Growth Fund (PGF).

A further $70 million will be spent on upgrading train tracks through tunnels in Northland, as well as expanding rail further into the region.

Peters and NZ First have long advocated for the Ports of Auckland to be moved to Northport.

Before the 2017 election, Peters said "the days of the Ports of Auckland as a container port and as a car yard are numbered" and that "Northport is ideally positioned to handle substantial growth in imports and exports".

In its coalition agreement, NZ First and Labour agreed their Government would: "commission a feasibility study on the options for moving the Ports of Auckland, including giving Northport serious consideration".

The study, released late last year, made a strong case that Auckland's port should be moved to Northport.

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed that Cabinet was in agreement that it "is not viable" for the North Island's main port to remain in Auckland.

But she would not say where the port should be moved to, saying that decision would be made later in the year.

In December, Finance Minister Grant Robertson told RNZ: "We certainly haven't said 'yes' to it, we've got to make sure we get all the information that we need".

The report said upgrading Northport would cost roughly $10 billion.

The chairman of the group which conducted the study, Wayne Brown, told Newshub that the Government would need to invest in rail in the Northland region before the port could be moved there.

"The Government will have to understand the importance of running a proper rail line through to Northland and just like it did to the Bay of Plenty it could become the North of plenty."

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