Just get on with it, says Mangonui businessman Wayne Brown, after government officials raised questions over the plan he helped devise to move Auckland's port to the North.
Those officials want money from the Provincial Growth Fund to answer those questions, and reckon they will have a plan on how to do so by March.
"We're saying, 'get on with the job'," said Brown. "We were expecting by March they would be starting to build things."
Brown said the working group that carried out the study recommending the move north had expertise in economic trucking, shopping, exporting, infrastructure and rail modelling of freight systems.
It was real-world expertise that deeply understood the issues - unlike the officials, he claimed.
WINNING THE PORT
• The Advocate says: The North must join together in the fight to win Auckland's port
• Vexed question of land on which proposed Marsden Point port would sit
• United: We want the port, say Northland's elected leaders
• Port in a storm: The North of Plenty
• Northland mayors support Auckland port move to Northport
• Wayne Brown: Northland, get your A into G on the port
• David Cormack: Why moving Auckland's port is a win for everyone
"They're a bunch of accountants who have never built a thing. They're going to spend $2 million checking a report that cost $800,000."
The comments follow the release of details showing the officials weren't as convinced over the proposal to move Auckland's port to the North as those advocating politically.
The advice from officials in the Ministry of Transport and Treasury was made public yesterday, along with the final report of the Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy produced by a working group led by Brown.
Much of the detail from the report has emerged publicly, with a move to the North bringing with it thousands of jobs annually, a massive infrastructure overhaul and a boom to the regional economy.
Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones batted away concerns officials' advice might derail an outcome he has promoted, telling the Advocate this week officials don't get the final say "because at the end of the day the power lies with the politicians through the electoral process".
The documents released yesterday show officials stating the premise of the savings in shifting the supply chain to Marsden Point is the assumption "build and they will come theory".
The documents said the success was "dependent on the majority of freight following the enabling investment" - that the development of rail north to Northport would be used by those shipping freight.
The issue was one prompting a $1m work plan for the Ministry of Transport that will seek further information about the demand for rail on the upgraded line to Whangarei, the impact on the supply chain of imports to New Zealand and lane use in Auckland.
The advice - provided before Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Ports of Auckland would move - only went as far as saying officials accepted there were "potentially some good strategic arguments" for it moving.
Other advice included proposing further work on alternative port locations outside Northland.
The issue has seized leaders in the North this week after Ardern announced the Ports of Auckland would move - without saying where or when.
The release of the documents was welcomed by the elected leaders of the North last night, with Kaipara Mayor Dr Jason Smith saying the decision was one of two parts - and the first had already been decided with the Prime Minister's announcement Auckland's port would move.
Smith, who is chairman of the Northland Mayoral Forum, said the mayors of the North "seek a strong evidence base for the second part of the total decision".
"The second part is the location choice of future heavy port functions, and Northport's natural advantages are clearly in the frame.
"We welcome today's release of the timetable for Government decisions on this multi-billion dollar relocation project and expect civic leaders of Northland together to engage fully with the next steps."