In a just released whitepaper, Paul Kane, Partner, Privately Held Business at Grant Thornton New Zealand says that better roads between Auckland and Whangarei are critical for the Northland region to address its economic and social issues.
He says for too long New Zealand has tolerated a transport network not worthy of a highly developed country.
“The starkest illustration of this point is Northland - a region rich in natural resources and less than a day’s drive from our largest centre, but also one of our poorest.
“Consider Tauranga and Hamilton, two cities that breathe off Auckland. Look at the roads between them and Auckland, then the road between Whangarei and Auckland. If you had to get goods from one of those three cities to Auckland, which would be the last city you’d base your business in?”
Paul Kane says the cost of insufficient infrastructure for Whangarei and Northland is immense, with talented people and businesses drifting away to the large cities.
“It’s a little known fact that Northland boasts mines with some of the whitest clay in the world, which produces exceptionally high quality porcelain and bone china. And that’s just the start - a study by GNS Science and the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research revealed that mineral deposits in the region are potentially worth over $33 billion.
“These resources are under-explored which is little wonder, given the lack of infrastructure.”
He says the evidence for solid infrastructure driving productivity is simply too strong to ignore.