Northland poised for massive growth if infrastructure comes to fruition

November 10, 2020

Northland is poised for a massive growth surge if the current infrastructure project pipeline comes to fruition.

This is according to EMA Chief Executive Brett O’Riley, who has just been involved with the EMA’s Spring Briefing series for member businesses in Northland.

"We are pleased to see planned infrastructure initiatives from the new floating dock at Northport to new transport projects powering economic growth in Northland. Avocado farming is booming in the Far North and we were also heartened to find out more about the opportunity for the Royal New Zealand Navy to potentially re-locate some of its operations to the Port Whangarei area. These are step-change initiatives for the region."

Mr O’Riley says that the relocation of the Navy would not only be a shot in the arm for Northland, but it could free up prime land in Auckland at Devonport and Kauri Point.

He says developing a naval base at Whangarei has several additional benefits.

"It could potentially lower housing and living costs for existing and future Navy staff and give the Navy access to a recruitment pool from Northland and Auckland. It also builds on the marine training expertise at Northtec and the marine engineering capability of Whangarei-based companies."

The floating dock opportunity in partnership with Northport was stalled in the Provincial Growth Fund process earlier this year.

"The floating dock is a significant strategic asset for New Zealand for both commercial, super yacht and Navy fleets, with numerous opportunities for the current business based in Auckland to be expanded as a result. Northport is the logical location, as it also leverages the significant local heavy engineering capability."

Mr O’Riley says it is also pleasing to see the ongoing regeneration of the Mangawhai and Whangarei town centres. The soon-to-be completed Hundertwasser museum in Whangarei, and the new Te Arai golf courses south of Mangawhai (on the border with Auckland Council), will be significant new regional tourism assets for domestic and future international visitors alike.

"These developments will stimulate further growth in the accommodation sector in Northland," he says.

The EMA plans to continue to expand its presence in Northland working alongside local partners to help grow and expand the capability of businesses in the region.

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