It was a big promise - to deliver port work to Northland and upgrade rail to allow port freight to head south.

Thus allowing the fulfilment of Northport's untapped potential, and creating jobs for Northlanders, a boost for the economy etc.

PM Jacinda Ardern told the public that Winston Peters negotiated based on the election promises he made, so there were many Northlanders who were waiting to see where the port work promises featured in policy announcements this week.

There were also many who didn't give a rat's rear end, but if you are a Northlander with any semblance of regional pride, and the slightest bit interested in this region doing well, then the hoo-ha some people make around ports and rail and freight is justified.


Because it would be a very solid stake in the ground, a strengthened reliable pillar of our economy which relies on up and down/boom and bust industries such as forestry for jobs.

And so where did the port feature in policy announcements? Tucked within the regional development portfolio was a note in bold that says a feasibility study will be carried out re moving work from Ports of Auckland to Whangarei.

Essentially, a business case will be looked at. (Something that National's Shane Reti was open about - if we have a business case in favour of the move then let's do it).

Because it's not just about moving work to Northland, getting the freight to Auckland is full of potential financial fish hooks - getting rail through an already congested urban Auckland rail network for example.

The good news is that we have Northlanders in key Cabinet positions looking after our interests.

For the first time, Northland has three ministers.

NZ First's Shane Jones is in charge of Regional Economic Development, Infrastructure and Forestry (a single portfolio). So we will look to him to drive home the port work bus.

Labour's deputy leader Kelvin Davis has the Corrections portfolio, and will take on a new post-Treaty portfolio of Crown/Maori Relations.


(Is there a portfolio on pre-Treaty settlement Crown/Maori relations?)

And Winston Peters as Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister.

It is our strongest Cabinet representation ever, and with it comes increased expectation from voters.

It is also worth mentioning the strong Maori representation of Northland's MPs - a Maori caucus of at least five.

From a purely selfish point of view, things have to be looking up for Northland?

Finally, after lots of hui, it's time for the "do-ey".