Around 180,000 Northlanders are being called on to get behind a new Kia Kaha Northland social media campaign to bring five huge infrastructure projects to the region.
Northland's three mayors have jointly launched Kia Kaha Northland campaign - as high-profile Northland leaders – rather than specifically representing their councils.
And so far the public and business leaders seem to be getting behind it, with some offering other ideas on what should be done.
"It would be a complete failure by this generation of Northlanders and a betrayal of all our mokopuna to let this opportunity be lost," Far North's John Carter, Whangārei's Sheryl Mai and Kaipara's Jason Smith said in the joint launch.
Getting the projects north would benefit Northland and New Zealand's economy as a whole, they said.
Northlanders - and others outside the region - were all being encouraged to participate.
A Kia Kaha Northland campaign's promotional video appeared on 30,000 Facebook and other social media accounts yesterday to alert Northlanders and other New Zealanders to the new campaign.
The five Kia Kaha Northland-backed projects are:
• A new $240 million ship repair dry dock in Whangārei – to service ships from New Zealand and Australia, rather than Asia where they must currently go for this work.
• A new multi-million dollar Royal New Zealand Navy base in Whangārei – to replace its current Devonport, Auckland base.
• The multi-million Northport, Whangārei expansion – for cars and containers currently entering New Zealand through Auckland, as well as for exports from Northland and elsewhere.
• The multi-million dollar completion of four-laned highway from Whangārei to
Auckland, including the planned four-lane highway to Port Marsden.
• The fast-tracking of a doubled-tracked rail line from West Auckland to Whangārei, including the planned spur to Port Marsden – to carry freight.
A four-month window between now and May was the moment in time for Northlanders to lobby for these once-in-a- lifetime projects, Carter, Mai and Smith said.
"Major infrastructure decisions to be made over the next four months by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters will determine Northland's economic prosperity for the next hundred years," the mayors said.
Northlanders' lobbying would be critical in making sure the five projects came to Te Tai Tokerau.This wasn't yet assured.
"For example, while the Prime Minister announced on December 9 the car and container port in Auckland's CBD will close, her Government has not yet decided where it will go," the mayors said.
"All the people of Te Tai Tokerau must tell the Government, the National Party and all of Parliament that we want all five projects to start now," they said.
"We need all Northlanders to support Kia Kaha Northland by liking it, sharing it or following it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram," the mayors said.
Northlanders also needed to lobby politicians at all levels too through social media, emailing and calling or writing to New Zealand's Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition as well as their local electorate and list MPs."
Northland's economic prosperity for the next hundred years will be determined by major infrastructure decisions being made over the next four months by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, they said.
The Kia Kaha Northland campaign https://www.facebook.com/KiaKahaNorthland/ the Northland people's campaign, belonged to those who participated on its social media or became otherwise involved, the mayors said.
Kia Kaha's purpose it to show Northlanders are behind the five projects coming north.
The five major projects would connect Northland to Auckland and the world and transform the regional and national economy. Crowdfunding is being sought for further Northland Kia Kaha social media advertising. Donations can be made to back account 12-3126-0259126-00.
The initial video and Facebook advertising launch has been privately funded.
Northland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stephen Smith said he was wildly
enthusiastic about bringing the five projects to the North – and the new social media campaign. His organisation had already liked the campaign's new Facebook page and was sharing it with others.
The five projects had to be viewed as a package for Northland. Smith said four-laning the Whangarei to Auckland state highway's full length was an essential.
He said the four-laning's Whangārei northern end needed to continue north right through the city. This was needed so that the rest of Northland could access the benefits of the huge infrastructure projects being called for. This would mean a more major roading system through the town north. The five projects being called for were the benefit of all Northlanders.
Smith said shifting Whangārei's airport from Onerahi needed to be added as a sixth project in the Kia Kaha Northland campaign.
Its runway couldn't be extended and having a longer runway was crucial as part of making the most of new Northland infrastructure growth.
It was important to add this sixth component during this upcoming four-month lobbying window for making sure Northland's voice was heard.
Alan Preston, Save Our Rail Northland campaigner, said the Kia Kaha campaign was great news. He had liked and shared it via his group's Facebook page.
Boosting rail into Northland would bring huge economic benefit for the region, Preston said.
He said rail offered important opportunity for strategic future proofing Northland and wider New Zealand in the face of an oil shock.
Regarding rail, Preston said the campaign should also include lobbying for full reinstatement of a Kawakawa to Opua spur through the Bay of Islands. Sixty-three cruise ships were coming into the Bay of Islands this season.
Connecting this spur to the rest of the network would bring huge economic benefit for the region and wider New Zealand.
The Facebook so far has more than 700 likes, with many comment supporting the campaign, but others concerned about potential environmental issues from the developments.
Bryce Pender: I fully support these projects, I lobbied MPs for the port expansion and double track railway during the last election.
It was part of a bigger rail centric vision I was promoting as a way to prepare the infrastructure to hand the population growth to 8 million and the need to create jobs to support that, it included ideas to triple or quadruple NZ exports.
The idea for the dry dock is great but how big will the dry dock be? Is it worth considering 2 dry docks?
Glenn Durham: Think American. Open the place up, and prosper. Small thinking will only see 100 more years of 'minimal growth and opportunity'. GET ON WITH IT. !!
Trevor Kehely: I think Northland can have a great Naval Base, even a way better Airforce base. All Northlanders need to do is to make sure they "do it right". It will mean jobs, careers for our kids, Northland's future. "Do it right". It will mean more money into our area. "Do it right". Northlanders have a huge tendency to just stand around talking about issues, and do nothing but talk. "Do it right". I just don't want the to claim a bit of land, slap on a base or any of the this big five, and the people suffer, sound, smell, sight pollution like Auckland. We must make sure they do it right.
Randal Finlayson: This is great for Northland's economy but imagine another 100,000 people jamming the roads the pollution in the harbour etc. Our little piece of paradise will be lost.
Think about it!