Associate Transport Minister Shane Jones has backed the ambitious plan to move Auckland’s port to Northport, at Whangarei harbour, which he says will be the “King Kong of infrastructure”.
The plan is part of the recommendations of a six-person independent working group, which has recommended the Ports of Auckland be closed in favour of a relocation to Northland, at an estimated cost of around $10.3 billion.
"Look, it's the King Kong of infrastructure," Minister Jones told 1 NEWS in an interview.
"People say the Government's not willing to take on infrastructure challenges. Up to $10 billion will be the overarching cost. It's difficult to think of a project of such epic proportions," he said.
"It's a positive report. It's got a lot of robust analysis behind it. And it fulfills a key component of the coalition agreement," the Minister added.
The independent Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy group was commissioned by the Coalition Government, which was part of New Zealand First’s Coalition Agreement with the Labour Party in 2017.
Minister Jones, who is a New Zealand First MP, said most New Zealanders wanted to see the Coalition Government deliver on “transformational infrastructure projects”. He said that this ambitious plan will help “with logistics, supply challenges, future proofing our ability to export goods and services in a more robust and efficient manner is something that Kiwis should be calling for. And I'm sure lots of them will over time.”