Northland is getting almost $1 billion worth of infrastructure funding, with State Highway 1 being four-laned from Whangārei to Marsden Pt, Kaitaia Hospital getting $10 million and 100 schools having their facilities upgraded.
The money is coming from the $12B infrastructure announcement the Government made yesterday, with a big chunk coming north.
The largest individual funding is $692 million on four-laning the road between Whangārei and Port Marsden, as part of the "New Zealand Upgrade Programme" announced in the $12b infrastructure package.
Transport Minister Phil Twyford said it would be a brand new highway that would also include a dedicated shard cycle/walking path. The NZ Transport Agency would also explore the possibility of making one of the lanes in each direction solely for heavy freight and vehicles with multiple passengers.
National leader Simon Bridges is accusing the Government of copying its infrastructure plans, saying ministers had no new ideas of their own.
He said the Government had: "copied the plans I put in place when I was Transport Minister".
"It's quite flattering, really. It's just a shame that an entire term of Government has been wasted by tearing up these plans and putting them back together again," Bridges said.
"The two-year pause on starting these roads has seen our construction workforce go overseas in search of work. We'll struggle to get them back now. This is a tragic wasted opportunity."
But Twyford said that was just wrong.
''This idea has been on the planning block for many years, but this is the first time it has been funded and given the go ahead,'' Twyford said.
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''We didn't take it off the agenda (as National has said) but when we became the Government we said we would re-evaluate all these state highway projects to make sure we got the best value for money and have the best safety outcomes.
''It's a bit sad and pathetic for (National) to now say that. National put out a press release on this before the last election saying they were going to build this road some time in the next decade. But they had no funding for it, no planning, no design and no Resource Management consenting done - we've done all that and have brought the project forward. It's going to happen.''
He said the new road would go to the roundabout on SH1/SH15A intersection with the whole road built by 2027 or early 2028.
John Bain, chairman of the Northland Regional Transport Committee, said he was delighted that the four-laning would finally go ahead.
''About time. Better late than never I suppose, but we are really happy that the funds have now been budgeted for it and it will finally happen,'' Bain said.
''This will make that stretch of highway so much safer and help with transportation. It's a biggie.''
Bain said he hopes this will be another step towards four-laning SH1 all the way between Whangārei and Auckland.
Whangārei Mayor Sheryl Mai is thrilled the four-laning will now go ahead.
"It's fabulous news to hear we are to get $692m invested on four-laning the road between Whangārei and Port Marsden, as part of the 'New Zealand Upgrade Programme' $12B infrastructure package," Mai said.
"It is a real sign of much-needed greater investment in the infrastructure of Tai Tokerau.
"We also look forward to further announcements on rail investments tomorrow by Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones."
The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister will be in Whangārei tomorrow to make an announcement about investment in the Northland Rail Line.
Jones, who is also Infrastructure Minister, said the announcement would 'turbocharge" the region and improve access to and from the region as well as making that stretch of road much safer.
Health Minister Dr David Clark said as part of the Government's $300 million package of priority health investments $10 million has been earmarked for Northland DHB to upgrade Kaitaia Hospital.
We're investing $10 million for Kaitaia Hospital which will make a considerable difference to communities in the Far North.
''It will enable Northland DHB to replace or fix a number of poor condition buildings at Kaitaia Hospital, including the maternity ward, main hospital block and community mental health building,'' Clark said.
"This investment will support Northland DHB to continue to deliver high quality services and better health outcomes for people in the Far North, both now and into the future.''
As well there will be facility upgrades for well over 100 schools across the region, but exact details of that work will be revealed later.