The need for a single voice for Northland and for local communities to keep their special identities is reflected in a new model of local government proposed for the region.
The Local Government Commission has released its draft proposal for reorganisation in Northland, following applications by local authorities and extensive consultation since February. The highlights are:
• One council and one mayor to speak with a region-wide voice for Northland.
• A second tier of boards to represent diverse local communities.
• The name of the new local authority to be Northland Council.
• It replaces the Far North District Council, Whangarei District Council, Kaipara District Council and Northland Regional Council. The new council would be a unitary authority, combining the functions of the district councils and the regional council.
• Northland Council would have nine councillors elected from seven wards. The mayor would be elected by all Northland voters.
• Northland Council would have seven community boards with 42 elected members. The seven council wards and seven community boards would share the same boundaries.
• The proposed names of the wards and community boards are: Te Hiku (far north), Hokianga-Kaikohe (north-west), Coastal North (north-east), Coastal Central (east), Whangarei (south-east), Coastal South (south-east), and Kaipara (south-west). These names are open to public submission.
Many of the current Northland local authorities have had serious problems. The amalgamation proposal looks a pretty sensible way forward.
The full proposal is here.