Letter to the leaders - 30th October 2021

Dear Emily, Kelvin, Willow-Jean, Shane, Sheryl, Jason, John, Penny


During these times of lockdown, the Northland Businesses and people are feeling rather isolated and frustrated, and you as our elected leaders I expect to be working together so that Northland will be better positioned for the future.  As you are all aware that Northland does have the highest growth in New Zealand, and during this latest lockdown Northlanders are feeling it tough.


Here is a list of items that need your consideration:


  • Northlands Health System:

Presently our government has made the call to disestablish (rightly or wrongly) all health boards within NZ, and lump Northland in with Auckland and Waikato.  Northland was already working well with Auckland with some shared services, yet by amalgamating Northland with Auckland I am still questioning over the future benefits for Northland.  We already have the highest differential between rich and poor, and some of the worst statistics for New Zealand when it comes to health outcomes, notwithstanding the outstanding work of our Health professionals.


We have hospital infrastructure, which is in serious need of repair or replacement, for example the proposed new Whangarei Base Hospital is being held up by the ministry of health, questioning over the cost of the build, yet we already have total support from Auckland about getting the hospital upgraded.  Predicted costs will be around $1.4billion for the whole build, yet the longer the project is held up and with building costs increasing daily, our people will be further disadvantaged by the travel time incurred to get treatment and not having a hospital to meet the future demands of our growing region.


Why are you not joining together and supporting a Northland based health system and supporting the increased funding into an area that truly needs the funds to deal with the growth of the district?


  • Northlands Water System:

Presently our government has made the call to optionally amalgamate our Northland 3 water systems with Auckland, yet the public outcry from our people is saying they do not want to lose assets, that they have paid for with their rates.  The argument can be made that the ratepayer is not losing the assets, just transferring them to a different body, yet the public feels that they are losing control.


Why are you not joining together and supporting the Northland Mayors, in the position to leave Northland as is, especially when they have proven asset management skills?


  • Northlands Transport Network:

Presently our government has chosen to underfund the roading network in Northland, especially the removal of the 4 lanes from Whangarei to Auckland, why when this section alone carries the lifeblood to and from the region?  Despite your personal view of public transport and the position of the Ministry of Transport, public transport works best in areas where there is a high population in a relatively close proximity to each other.  Do I need to remind you what Northland looks like and how dispersed the region is?


Why are you not joining together and supporting the Northland Mayors, in the position that extra funding is needed for roading maintenance in our Region?  To better allow our roading transport to service the beating heart of Auckland and the rest of the county.


  • Security of our borders

Presently our Northland DHB is reporting 0 COVID19 cases in Northland, both in sewerage and personal tests, and is reporting that we have the highest rate of around 30% of double doses compared to the NZ’s 22% when we talk about vaccinations.  Border security is high, and we need to continually support and protect our region from such cases, yet why do you support the level restrictions imposed by central government on our region, when we can clearly show we are above the national average, in fact when Wellington has 15 cases you allow them to go down a level, yet not Northland.


Why are you not joining together and supporting the business growth in the region?  Do you want the public to get unrulily and fight against the system, especially when they have shown such leadership in fighting this virus?


Leaders I write to you as someone who is connected to the region, both physically and spiritually, and is concerned about the direction that many of you are taking.  Northland leaders need to band together and it should not matter what side of the political spectrum you sit, as we are talking about the survival of our regional, our Northland Region.  The region where our businesses support each other, and our people show extra support when it comes our regional community programs.


Please, stand together!




Cr. Vince Cocurullo