The Government will spend $50 million on an ‘investment package’ in Northland which includes funding for potentially ‘upgrading and expanding’ the Northland rail line

The Government will spend $50 million on an ‘investment package’ in Northland which includes funding for potentially ‘upgrading and expanding’ the Northland rail line
Jacinda Ardern & Winston Peters by Jacky Carpenter.

The Government will spend half a million dollars investigating a potential upgrade and expansion of the rail line from Auckland to Northland.

It comes as part of a near $50 million government “investment package” into the region.

The move is yet another big win for New Zealand First, which campaigned strongly on bolstering the Northland economy during the election and upgrading the rail line to the region.

“This Government believes that rejuvenating and expanding the North Auckland rail line could help unlock the region’s export potential,” Transport Minister Phil Twyford says.

This will be tested by a business case which will determine if rail is a viable option for freight transportation in and out of the region.

“[The Government] will also investigate whether the upgrade could include a new spur line to Marsden Point to support Northport’s growth,” Twyford says.

In July last year, NZ First Leader Winston Peters told The Nation that the Northland rail project at Marsden point was a Coalition deal bottom line.

“I can say for the people of Northland and Whangarei this is going to happen.

“We've got the corridor, it's been designated – the only thing it lacks is the commitment from central Government, and that's one of the first things we're going to be doing straight after the election.”

The cost for the business case, which is $500,000, will come from the Provincial Growth Fund.

As well as this, the Government will spend $46 million on an “investment package” for Northland, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern revealed on Friday.

Almost half of that funding, some $20 million, has been allocated for “projects that create jobs,” but there is little to no detail on what that entails at this stage.

Just under $10 million has been earmarked for art centres, including New Zealand’s first curated Maori art gallery, in Northland.

A further $8.7 million will be spent on social and state housing projects and a trial of a “rent-to-own” scheme.

Some $6.2 million will be spent on a “transport businesses cases” which will be used to upgrade some of the roads in the area.

“The region is on the right track, but there is still more work to be done and this government will continue to work hard and form genuine partnerships to further support Northland’s growth,” Ardern says.

The funding comes from the Provincial Growth Fund.

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Heh. The quote is:

$20 million has been allocated for “projects that create jobs,” but there is little to no detail on what that entails at this stage.

As a cynical old budgeteer, I can advance some fairly plausible reasons for this statement.

  1. No-one has done any depth of background work: the what/where/who/how/when stuff that usually underpins any 'investment' deal. Any work already done is just enough to ensure that the soundbites resonate sufficiently.
  2. Such background work as has been done will have thrown up the uncomfortable facts that Creating Jobs in other than non-tradeables is a long slog, and is highly likely to result in minimum-wage, low-productivity positions. This may well suit the capability profile of our Northland population, but does nothing to advance the notion of a smart, high-producing nation.
  3. So in the best interests of Relendlessly Posidive Information Release, it has been decided to treat the 'investment' as per the MSM motto: 'Cover important stories. With a pillow. Until they stop moving'. (ht IowaHawk).

Lets get some perspective. 20 million $ only equates to the cost of about 20 Auckland houses.

Nzf Big Regional Investment in Business and Enterprise fund. BRIBE fund for short. The Pork Must Flow!

The pre-election promise was a modern "Golden Triangle" rail network running between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga. It seemed like a sensible idea to lift the economic landscape in NZ to the next level but seems like Winston got his way with Labour to appease his voters in Northland at the cost of better projects.

Perhaps this here is a signal of a 2021 election strategy. Labour stands aside to let NZF do as has been done in Epsom for too many times now. Don’t think MMP was intended to be manipulated like that, or was it?

What would dancing with the stars do without Act Mps with nothing better to do?