growing northland

Why has Northland remained one of New Zealand's poorer regions? Identified as a surge region it has now been allocated more than $126 million so far from the Provincial Growth Fund.

In the second of a three-part series into what this means for the region, Lindy Laird looks at what might be needed to make this happen.

There was a collective gasp of pain and hurt pride from Northland cheerleaders when economist Shamubeel Eaqub said Whangārei was in danger of becoming a zombie town.

It was back in September 2014 when Eaqub used the analogy that on an international ranking Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury were comparable to France, Finland and Saudi Arabia, and Northland to Timor-Leste.

Then a principal economist with the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research's (NZIER), Eaqub said his harsh comments were meant as a wake-up call based on Northland's — and to be fair, a couple of other regions' — ''catastrophic economical decline''