Jacinda Ardern promises to listen, work together

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern isn't being drawn on roading projects for Northland as she visits the region, but is promising to work with people and listen to them.

On Saturday, Ms Ardern visited Karetu Marae, east of Kawakawa, the home marae of her deputy Kelvin Davis and several other Labour MPs.

It's her second day of five at or near to Waitangi. On Friday she met Māori wardens, Northland mayors and members of the Māori Women's Welfare League, toured the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and opened an exhibition.

Her visit comes as National's transport spokeswoman Judith Collins called for clarity on roading in Northland.

"The previous Government recognised the importance of better transport links between Northland and Auckland," Ms Collins said.

"The four-laned highway between Puhoi and Warkworth is already under way and we had pledged to continue that through to Whangārei. This Government however is refusing to say whether or not it will continue with that pledge - and it looks like it won't," Ms Collins said.

Ms Ardern said "four lanes to Whangārei" was raised by local mayors when she sat down with them on Friday.

She didn't commit beyond saying it was something ministers were working on.

She spoke of the importance of the forestry industry to Northland and also of the issue of regional roads.

She wouldn't be drawn on rail transport to Northland either, beyond saying rail was a priority for the Labour-led Government.

The North Auckland Line is currently under review as part of KiwiRail's turnaround plan and rail doesn't go through to the deep water port near Whangārei at Marsden Point.

Ms Ardern said she wasn't going to make decisions "here and now".

"We have a lot of things that we want to achieve and we can't do it alone and I think we are going to make the gains we want to make if we work in partnership.

"It is about us not dictating what happens but working together to identify the problems."

Former Prime Minister Bill English decided to stay away from Waitangi last year after confusion about protocols and John Key boycotted the event in 2016 after being refused speaking rights.

Last year it was decided that Te Whare Rūnanga, the upper marae, would be used for the Waitangi Day pōwhiri in 2018 and 2019 instead of Te Tii Marae - where the ceremony is usually held - after years of disruptive demonstrations.

On Monday, Ms Ardern is attending the Royal New Zealand Navy Beat the Retreat and Sunset Ceremony on the upper Treaty Grounds.

"On Waitangi Day itself, I'm privileged to be speaking at the Dawn Service at Te Whare Rūnanga. Coupled with my schedule of valuable hui I'm looking forward to meeting people at the breakfast and joining them at Waitangi's annual festival.

"Our national day gives us the opportunity to reflect on what it means to be a New Zealander and how Te Tiriti o Waitangi is crucial to this understanding," she has said.

Mr English is in Bluff for Waitangi Day on Tuesday for Ngāi Tahu Treaty Commemoration Hui. National MPs including Amy Adams, Sarah Dowie, Chris Finlayson, Hamish Walker and Michael Woodhouse will be with him.

A delegation of National MPs are going to Waitangi including Andrew Bayly, Jo Hayes, Harete Hipango, Steven Joyce, Matt King, Denise Lee, Mark Mitchell, Todd Muller, Alfred Ngaro, Scott Simpson, Shane Reti, and Louise Upston.

NZN