Council asks locals for their views
The Northland Regional Council is planning a major fact-finding exercise to see what form Northlanders think local government in the region should take - and says it will reserve its judgement until those views are known.
With the passing early last month of the first of a series of planned changes to the Local Government Act, the regional council agreed the time had now come to act on potential reform.
The regional council's general manager planning and policy Kathryn Ross says while there had been calls from some - including the Far North District Council - for reform, the regional council had been reluctant to enter the debate until the Local Government Act changes had occurred.
Ms Ross says during previous debates on potential reform in Northland the regional council had advocated positions and favoured structures that provide a ‘whole of Northland' approach but it currently "does not have a predetermined outcome in mind".
"Council now has - and wants to take - the opportunity to engage with individuals and communities of interest within the region to inform, engage and identify an optimal model of local governance for Northland." While not all councillors agreed, a majority voted for a staff recommendation outlining a proposed community engagement model. It involves an independently facilitated process, supported by internal staff resources, and includes citizen's panels, surveys, an open door approach, workshops and other forms of direct public involvement.