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EMA welcomes new report into economic benefits of expressway to Northland

The EMA today welcomed a new report outlining the economic benefits of a four-lane expressway into Northland, saying it is further evidence of the pressing need to unlock the region’s economy by getting on and building this critical link.

The report by NZIER found a new high-quality expressway between Auckland and Northland would boost national GDP by $2.1 billion by 2048 and deliver more than $560 million in direct economic benefits to Northland every year.

EMA Head of Advocacy Alan McDonald says the current road between Warkworth and Whangārei is little more than a goat-track while the report highlights the urgent need to build a resilient, high-quality expressway connecting the two regions.

“It is unacceptable that State Highway One over the Brynderwyns continues to be closed for long periods of time, effectively cutting Northland off from the rest of the country. The recent opening of the Puhoi to Warkworth four-lane section further highlights the vulnerability of the remainder of this SH1 link to the north,” says McDonald.

“With its climate, natural resources, and proximity to Auckland, Northland could be a high-growth region. But it is being held back by the poor quality of the main connecting transport links.”

McDonald says Northland businesses need to be able to move goods and services to market quickly, especially to and through Auckland.

“We have seen the Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions grow rapidly in recent years, especially following the completion of the Waikato Expressway, while Northland has been left behind,” says McDonald.

“A four-lane road connecting Auckland and Northland would help unleash Northland’s potential, drive economic growth, and would help address some of the long-term socioeconomic problems the region faces. Better transport links are also critical if Northport is to play a greater role alongside the major ports of Tauranga and Auckland.

“If we want Northland and its people to thrive, then it needs a strong economy and that relies on good quality infrastructure that helps business grow.”

McDonald says while the EMA welcomes the Government’s commitment to upgrades parts of the road between Auckland and Whangārei as part of its Roads of National Significance programme, now was the time to be more visionary.

“We encourage the Government to commit to building an expressway, as a priority to unlock the potential of Northland.”


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