A new Kia Kaha Northland social media campaign to bring five big infrastructure projects to the region has attracted a massive amount of attention on Facebook.
As at midday yesterday, Northland mayors said more than 117,000 people have engaged with their content on Facebook, over 25,000 have watched the first video all the way through, and over 3000 formally backed Kia Kaha Northland by liking its page facebook.com/KiaKahaNorthland.
"The message is overwhelmingly that central government needs to get on and make the big five happen – for the benefit not just of Northland, but of Auckland and all of New Zealand," mayors Sheryl Mai of Whangārei, Far North's John Carter and Dr Jason Smith of Kaipara said.
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 multimillion-dollar Royal New Zealand Navy base in Whangārei - to replace its current Devonport, Auckland base.
• The multimillion-dollar Northport, Whangārei expansion - for cars and containers currently entering New Zealand through Auckland, as well as for exports from Northland and elsewhere.
• The multimillion-dollar completion of a 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 Whāngarei, including the planned spur to Port Marsden, to carry freight.
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The mayors said Northport must commit to being among the world's cleanest, greenest, lowest-carbon and most sustainable ports as it took over functions from Auckland over the years ahead.
They said there would be no port expansion northwards into Whangārei Harbour, with Northport being required to expand its current operations only east and west.
The new four-lane highway and double-tracked railway must also be suitable for the electric and hydrogen vehicles of the future, they said.