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A Vision For Growth

An early-engagement public consultation process offering you the chance to let Northport know through this website what you think about potential future growth at the port and the questions we should be addressing.

There’s been a lot of discussion about what can and can’t happen at Northport, and about what should and shouldn’t happen. We’ve been listening, and although we have no firm plans at this stage we would like to show you what our vision is for possible future growth at Northport.

It’s important to say up front that this is not a confirmed plan. It’s a vision, based on what we believe is possible here. At this early stage all we’re doing is prompting a discussion among tangata whenua, other Northlanders, our neighbours, our customers, port users, our suppliers and other groups with an interest in what happens here, about what role you see us playing in the future of our region.

Situated at the entrance to Whangarei Harbour 140 km from central Auckland, Northport is positioned to support economic growth in both Northland and Auckland.

Along with a natural deep-water channel perhaps our most significant advantage is that we have more space at our disposal than any other port in New Zealand. The port itself has a potential footprint of 75 hectares and close to 700 hectares of designated port and commercially-zoned land nearby, all with easy access to the entire upper North Island through the State Highway network.

Built specifically as a multi-purpose facility, Northport is ideally positioned to handle substantial growth in imports and exports, and flexible enough to accommodate whatever business comes our way. We are ready to respond to whatever role we might be required to play in the development of Northland’s economy, as well as Auckland’s.

Significant growth is possible here. And while we don’t yet have any confirmed plans to expand the port, Northport will need to grow if it’s going to play a key role in the future growth of the upper North Island.

Importantly, we don’t need to expand northwards into the harbour to grow. Instead, we are able to extend our existing linear wharf east and west. The images below will give you a good idea of what this might look like.

But first we’d like to know: what do you think?

This is a vision that is based on many years of research, technical planning and engineering input from a raft of experts in this field. We now have a good idea about what is possible, and what isn’t.

However, we know full well that what we look like in the future will also be shaped to some extent by our communities and our customers. So now we’d appreciate your help in planning for this future by letting us know what role you see us playing in Northland’s and the upper North Island’s growth.

Marsden Point is growing, changing. Like Northland itself, it has huge economic potential. We can help make it happen.

Thank you.
Jon Moore
Chief Executive

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Show potential growth

Channel dredging – a possible opportunity?

Even though we don’t need it yet, there may be an opportunity to take some of the dredge material from Refining NZ’s proposed channel deepening work.

Our neighbour, Refining NZ, is currently consulting on plans to deepen and re-align parts of the shipping channel used by tankers bringing oil to its Marsden Point refinery.

Most of this work will take place at the harbour entrance and in areas of the approach channel. Refining NZ’s plan is for the dredge material from these areas to be disposed of at sea within the Bream Bay area.

However, some inner harbour dredging will be required and we see significant potential in using the material from this work at Northport, instead of having it disposed of at sea.

We are currently in discussion with Refining NZ about taking the relatively small amount of dredge material from the inner harbour dredging it has planned, even though it is unlikely that we will need this material in the immediate future.

If and when we do decide to grow the port, this material could help reduce the cost of the exercise substantially.

Read more

The Likely Process

We are just at the very start of the process. Although we don’t have any confirmed plans to build anything right now, we need to plan now for potential growth in the future.

Stage 01

Initial Communuty Input, stakeholder briefings and consultation

Stage 02

Technical studies and modelling

Stage 03

Detailed stakeholder consultation

Stage 04

Prepare Consent applications

Stage 05

Stakeholder briefings and final input

Stage 06

Board decision on lodgement of Consent applications
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Comments, questions and consultation

We know you’ll have comments and questions about possible growth plans. We want to hear these and respond to them as well and as thoroughly as we can.

We’ve thought about some obvious questions and provided the answers. Use this website to ask other questions and make comments and we’ll add them here, along with our responses.

Also - if you know of a community group that you think we should be engaging with directly as part of this consultation exercise, please let us have their details. We’ll need the group’s name, a contact name and phone number.

It’s about preparation and forward thinking. We are starting to have to put processes in place now in case we need to grow Northport in coming years. We are ensuring our ability to expand should we need to at some point in the future.
If we’re going to help Northland’s economy grow, and support Auckland’s growth, it’s clear that we’re going to have to grow too. However, no decision to expand has been taken by the Board of Northport Ltd. We are simply taking prudent steps to ensure that we are able to grow if that is what we, our customers and our communities decide is in the best interests of our region. One of those steps is asking for your views, concerns and input.
All feedback will be reviewed by our senior management team and fed into the planning and decision-making process.
Tangata whenua are crucial partners in any growth process. We acknowledge Patuharakeke’s claim to mana whenua and we will do all we can to ensure that we involve Patuharakeke, other hapu with an interest in our area, and the iwi of Ngati Wai and Ngapuhi at every stage, and at every level, of any journey of growth that we might embark on.
If we’re going to help Northland’s economy grow, and support Auckland’s growth, it’s clear that we will have to offer more space and shipping capacity.
To support economic growth and meet the forecast demand for shipping berths across the upper North Island we really do need to build for the future and not just today. To grow into that 270m area we would need to remove and relocate our tug berth. This would make sense if we needed only an extra 270m of berth. But times change and commercial and operational realities change with them. The commercial and operational reality that we are dealing with today is that we need more space than just 270m if we are going to play any meaningful role in developing Northland's economy and supporting Auckland's growth.
We don’t want to get too prescriptive at this early stage. Suffice to say that Northport was built specifically as a multi-purpose facility and so is ideally positioned to handle substantial growth in imports and exports, and flexible enough to accommodate whatever business comes our way. We are ready to respond to whatever role we might be required to play in the development of Northland’s economy, as well as Auckland’s. We have already introduced coastal shipping (shipping cargo out of Northport directly to export ports like Tauranga) and container handling capability.
Not necessarily. Much will depend on what importers and exporters decide they want to ship through Northport, and how.
This is not infrastructure that Northport Ltd would be responsible for building. We are entirely dependent on the government and KiwiRail putting this in place.
Not necessarily. How much we do, if we decide to do anything at all, will depend largely on the role that our customers, communities and stakeholders see us playing in the economic growth of Northland, and possibly Auckland too. That’s why we have developed our Vision for Growth, so we can embark on these discussions with everybody involved.
In order to accommodate changes in global shipping trends and meet the forecast demand for shipping across the upper North Island we really do need to build for the future and not just today.
We don’t need to expand northwards into the harbour to grow. Instead, we are able to extend our existing linear wharf east and west.
The modelling we’ve done suggests that we will not be blocking views.
It’s only realistic to acknowledge that there might be the potential for an increase in noise should we decide to grow the port. However, we operate under some very strict noise pollution limits which we monitor carefully for compliance.
A huge amount of work has gone into understanding the issues around these subjects, much of it undertaken by Refining NZ as part of their channel deepening project. This is available for all to view and to work with. We will review this vast body of work, use those bits of it that we can and, where additional research is needed to understand the particular impact of growth at Northport, we will undertake this. Part of what we are hoping to gain by opening the discussion about future growth at Northport is an understanding of where knowledge gaps remain.
We will review the work that already exists about the impact of commercial activity in Whangarei Harbour. Where additional research is needed to understand the particular impact of growth at Northport, we will undertake this. Part of what we are hoping to gain by opening the discussion about future growth at Northport is an understanding of what additional work or investigation may be required.
There is always a balance to be struck between the status quo and economic gain for the region – which our neighbours will also benefit from. That said, this is why we are kicking off this discussion even before any decision about growth at Northport has been made, and seeking input from everyone involved.
Absolutely. If we’re going to help Northland’s economy grow, and support Auckland’s growth, it’s clear that we’re going to have to grow too.
There are several options under review within the port’s potential footprint. At this point we are investigating all scenarios.
It’s too early to be able to give a specific answer at this point. However, as part of this initial investigation we will be undertaking an economic benefit study. This will give a good indication of economic growth and potential for new jobs. We think it’s fair to say though, that growth would indeed result in job creation.
This is only a vision and not a confirmed plan. While we have a very good idea of construction costs we are not ready to publicise a figure until we are clearer about many aspects of design, materials and timings.
Yes, it is our intention to relocate the fishing jetty.
These issues are part of this very early, preliminary consultation – to assess what needs to be investigated and answered. If a decision is taken to grow the port the issues you raise will be addressed and, when completed, information will be provided to all stakeholders as part of the continued consultation process.
Want to know more? Ask a question below and we'll get back to you.
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What other people are saying

Hear what some members and leaders of our community
have to say about the idea of possible growth at Northport:

Small Play Button Sheryl Mai
Sheryl Mai

Whangarei Mayor

Small Play Button Sheryl Mai
Jeroen Jongejans

Dive! Tutukaka

Small Play Button Sheryl Mai
Karleen Everitt

Chair, Northland Inc

Small Play Button Sheryl Mai
Peter Hope

Ruakaka Ratepayers' Association

Small Play Button Sheryl Mai
Rod Gates

Chair, Northport Community Liason Group

Small Play Button Sheryl Mai
Barry Trass

Chair, Prosper Northland Trust

Book a Tour

Thank you for taking the time to look at our Vision for Growth. If you are interested in taking the opportunity to visit Northport and be given a first-hand view of the port facility and its potential for growth, we are providing tours for small groups of up to 10 people at scheduled times during the week and the weekends.

If you wish to discuss an alternative time please email us at vision4growth@northport.co.nz

Please make sure to bring valid photo ID when you come for your tour.