Top five priorities for Te Tai Tokerau

Published on 15 February 2023

Photo of a recent slip on the Brynderwyns.

Northland's Mayoral Forum wants Central Government to be clear about Northland's priorities, says Whangārei Mayor Vince Cocurullo.

"On 31 January we experienced Northland’s first state of emergency since 2007. Within the Emergency Operations Centre we saw the intensity involved in the response.

"I can’t praise those involved enough. I can only imagine what those involved in the Auckland response went through (and are still experiencing), he said.

"Having strong infrastructure that can handle climate change is one of five key points our region made to Ministers at Waitangi.

Te Taitokerau’s Mayoral Forum includes the region’s three District Council Mayors and Regional Chairman, and their chief executives.

"Our forum has been working since last year, refining our list of priorities to send to Government. Our top five are:

  1. strong infrastructure that can manage climate change
  2. good connectivity
  3. enough housing
  4. a healthy economy and
  5. being a trusted partner with central government."


The Forum wants major road networks improved.

"We need a quality transport system that is safe for our community and connects Northland to Auckland.

"That includes funding for a four-lane Northland Expressway from Whangārei to Auckland, restoring SH1 at Mangamuka Gorge and improving Northland's road network.

Northland as a regional economic hub

"We have a large rural population, and our access to markets remains a challenge.

"The Forum wants to see more regional economic hub development at Marsden Point / Ruakākā and Kaikohe. Development around Marsden Point, Ruakākā and Northport is a priority.

We need the rail link to Marsden point, a dry dock and it would be good to see cargo operations at Northport expanded and diversified. Marsden Point refinery could be re-purposed for sustainable energy production.

"We also want government to support the Ngawha Innovation and Enterprise Park and other similar regional education centres for innovation and sustainability in Northland. Housing and associated infrastructure

Mayor Cocurullo said the Forum wants government's help to address housing needs in the region.

"Every whānau should have access to a home that meets their needs in their community, said Mayor Cocurullo.

"Infrastructure must be in place to cover a range of housing needs that includes urban areas, Papakāinga and Māori housing and community housing. We also need support from business to improve housing quality.

Infrastructure resilience and climate change

"Climate change will continue to disrupt our water, land, ecosystems, people, and economy, and councils will need to adapt.

Everything is on the table here. Energy, transport, water, wastewater, waste, independent power generation within Northland and digital communication connectivity.

Councils and Government need to work together with communities to build resilience.

Local government as a 'trusted partner' with central government

"None of us can do this alone, or operating only in our own spheres. We need to connect with each other, make the most of our combined resources and expertise.

"That means building and maintaining a strong partnership between local and central government, something our Forum is committed to achieving.

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