Northland's local body leaders could find out if their campaign to get five major infrastructure projects for Northland has been successful by June.
The region's mayors, Sheryl Mai of Whangārei, Far North's John Carter and Dr Jason Smith of Kaipara, have launched a Kia Kaha campaign to get public and industry support to get the five projects heading north.
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 currently go for work.
■ A new multimillion-dollar Navy base in Whangārei to replace its current Devonport, Auckland base.
■ The multimillion-dollar Northport, Whangārei expansion for cars and containers currently entering 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 Whangārei, including the planned spur to Port Marsden, to carry freight.
"Our information is that central government will make decisions on each of the Big Five by May 30, just 100 days away," the mayors said.
The decisions could then be announced publicly as early as June.
"It is absolutely critical Te Taitokerau speaks with one voice to ensure the Big Five are supported by all parties in Parliament. With today's statements from the Northland Regional Council, all four of Northland's councils are united, as well as supporters from right across the political spectrum, including Māori and Pakeha, farmers and city-dwellers, chambers of commerce and community volunteers, and Northlanders from southern Kaipara to Cape Reinga,'' the mayors said in a statement.
"With Northland united, we are confident Wellington will act by May 30 to set a platform for economic growth, self-sufficiency and social cohesion in our all-too-often forgotten and neglected region.''
The mayors said Northport must commit to being among the world's cleanest, greenest, lowest-carbon and most sustainable ports as it replaces Auckland.
They said there would be no expansion northwards into Whangārei Harbour, with Northport expanding operations only east and west.
Northland Regional Council chairwoman Penny Smart said the five projects will also strengthen Northland's position as a growth region.
Smart said the NRC welcomed and support the Government's investment in Northland's regional infrastructure, which has suffered from years of under-investment by successive governments.
"This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity and we're in a rare position to get a whole lot of things right at once so that future generations can look back at this time as a very positive turning point for the region," Smart said.
All five initiatives have been picked-up by the region's mayors. However, as the majority shareholder in Marsden Maritime Holdings and an environmental regulator, the NRC needs to maintain a level of separation from the campaign.
"Our council believes this is important. We know that lines have to be drawn clearly from the outset to preserve our integrity as a regulator and investor. We're looking at some very complex issues and there's lots we don't yet know."
The regional council has long recognised the tension between economic development and environmental sustainability and seeks to manage this in such a way that growth doesn't happen at the expense of the environment.
"Protecting our harbour is just one example of how we need to work alongside central government and other agencies to ensure that any big infrastructure projects align with the needs and aspirations of tangata whenua and our communities, as well as upholding our environmental responsibilities," Smart said.
"As a council with a key part to play, we look forward to actively working with tangata whenua, our wider community, central government and key partners to consider these opportunities in more detail and how these can be advanced to the best benefit of our region."