Northland mayors are strongly backing a new report that urges immediate action on moving the Auckland port to Northport.
But the Far North and Kaipara mayors have shared their frustration at the lack of consultation with Northland leaders on the report which recommends Auckland's used-car and container port be moved to Northland, starting now and finishing within the next 10-15 years.
Far North mayor John Carter said he supports "in principle anything that's going to add economic opportunity to the North".
However, Northland leaders have not been briefed, he said, and "we do expect a briefing as to the details the report contains".
"We've not been privy to it so the fact is until we're briefed on it, we can't say we support the report because we don't have the details.
"I would have thought that would be a priority, to brief the Northland leaders. There's no doubt other sectors would need to be briefed as well, like Chamber of Commerce, Federated Farmers and iwi."
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The final report, called Transforming Auckland; Transforming Northland, was prepared for the Government by the Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy working group.
The group reported on the shipping, freight and transport needs of the whole upper North Island.
It contains 10 recommendations, starting with the first which declares "Ports of Auckland's CBD freight operation is no longer economically or environmentally viable."
Northport should be developed to take over much or all of Auckland's existing and projected future freight business, the report said, and the new two-port configuration should be supported by a rejuvenated North Auckland rail line and spur to Northport.
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The report recommended the Government adopt the strategy as policy "immediately" and announce a clear timetable for the infrastructure projects necessary to support it.
"The Government should give the ports and their owners until 1 December, 2020 to reach commercial agreement on how the strategy is to be implemented," the report said.
"We recommend that the Government immediately confirm it will make the necessary investments in rail and road infrastructure to make it happen."
Carter said there are "obvious questions we need answers to" including what implications the move has for Northland ratepayers.
"Who's paying for the infrastructure?" Carter said.
"How does the freight get through Auckland? How does the freight get from the inland port that would have to be accessed at Drury and how does it get fed back?"
Kaipara mayor Dr Jason Smith said he was also supportive of the report in principle.
"But we can't be definitive of any details because we haven't been included in discussions or seen any report or have evidence to base our comments," he said.
Smith said the move would mean "significant growth" for Kaipara.
"Any expansion of Northport would turbo-charge growth of the Kaipara district which is the fastest growing district in the North Island. That's of interest to us."
Businessman and engineer Wayne Brown, who oversaw the working group, said they mayors "didn't ask".
"They didn't make any effort to get involved," Brown said.
"The regional council did, the regional council was well-briefed, and I've spoken to the mayor of Kaipara. I've spoken to them on the way through and kept them informed."
Whangārei mayor Sheryl Mai said her council has been advocating for the move for many years.
"It's been on the cards for a long time," she said.
"I'm pleased the latest report reconfirms that Northport should be where the Ports of Auckland relocates to. Hopefully the Government will agree and begin the process. It's great that it's getting some momentum."
The report will go to the Cabinet development committee today and from there to the full Cabinet for a decision. An announcement is expected before Christmas.
Mai said the councils in the North were co-ordinating their response and would meet on December 9.
"Hopefully by December 9 we will know which direction the Government is going in and we can start planning for it."
Northland Regional Council chairwoman Penny Smart has said relocating Auckland's port to Northport will bring strong economic benefit for the region.
Her comments came after former Prime Ministers Helen Clark and John Key backed calls to relocate Auckland's port to Whangārei as part of a social media campaign launched to grow support for the move.
Northland Inc's Harry Burkhardt, who is chair of the Tai Tokerau Northland Economic Action Plan Advisory Group, said: "The opportunity to shift to Northport not only has significant benefits for our region but also wider benefits for New Zealand. We fully support this transformational project."
Opponents of the move say the port should stay where it is for at least the next 20 years as it would move freight further away from the businesses and consumers it is destined for.