Dropping four laning is a loss for Northland

Published on 04 June 2021

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Disbelief and shock were Whangarei Mayor Sheryl Mai’s first reactions to news that four laning to Marsden Point, a regional transport priority for more than 10 years, has been struck from Government’s Infrastructure Upgrade programme.

“My initial reaction was disbelief that the number one priority project for Taitokerau has been shelved yet again. When elected members from across the region were invited to meet with Minister Wood on 25 May we asked him directly whether this project was going ahead. He confirmed then that funding was there.

“It came as a shock today to see the project cut in favour of a rail spur. The spur has taken the place of the road.

“Some people concerned about the impact of the four laning on their properties might understandably welcome this news and we are assured safety projects will be prioritised,” said Mayor Mai.

“Our top priority projects are Road, Rail, Northport expansion, new dry dock and the Navy relocation.  Now I wonder if we will see any of the remaining priorities given any consideration.

“It is one thing to ask for the region’s input into this kind of long term planning and investment, and to act in accord with that input. To ask for our input, give us every reason to believe we have been heard, and then pull the rug out from under us with no warning is another thing altogether.

“There will be benefits to our region with investment in rail infrastructure for freight, and that is good news. However the road provides the connectivity that all people use – locals, visitors, and freight transporters.

“I know that business, our community, and the local government sector remain united on the need for the road project to proceed and we will continue to push for it despite setbacks.”