A key strategic priority for the council is improving Northland's economic performance.
Northland has traditionally lagged behind much of the country in key economic indicators like Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employment and household income, and council is working towards increasing all these measures.
In 2012 we overhauled our economic development delivery agency to create a new council-controlled agency, Northland Inc.
Northland Inc Ltd is Northland's economic development agency. It is a Council Controlled Organisation (CCO) of the Northland Regional Council and a limited liability company.
The key focusses for Northland Inc are investment and growth (leveraging growth through strategic co-ordination of available funding), sector development and enterprise support.
Northland Inc Annual Report for 2015/16 (large file size - PDF, 5.5MB)
To find out more about Northland Inc, visit their website www.northlandinc.co.nz
We have established the Investment and Growth Reserve to help fund economic projects that will increase jobs and economic performance in Northland. The reserve is financed by income from the council's various investments and potential projects are scoped and assessed by Northland Inc.
The initial criteria for the use of the reserve was published in our Long Term Plan 2012-2022. It was subsequently updated in February 2014 and the latest version is available below. Enquiries into obtaining funding from the Investment and Growth Reserve should be directed to Northland Inc.
Download the Investment and Growth Reserve Criteria (PDF, 100KB)
Review of Economic Development Arrangements in Northland
The four Northland councils have undertaken a joint review of their economic development activities, including tourism and destination marketing services. This review, undertaken by MartinJenkins, and completed in July 2017 was done to ensure compliance with the requirements of section 17A of the Local Government Act 2002. The section 17A review must consider three elements: how a service is governed; how it is funded; and how it is delivered. The review involved documentation appraisal, interviews with a wide range of parties in the public and private sector, and analysis of findings, including comparison with economic development activities undertaken by councils elsewhere in New Zealand.
The review found that a large range of activities are being delivered in Northland, are reaching a large range of organisations, are consistent with identified opportunities and needs facing the region, and generally supported by evidence. There were a number of opportunities for improvement identified, including the need for greater project prioritisation and a possible change in governance structure of Northland Inc to become a jointly owner CCO, with joint shareholding across the four councils.
Over the next few months, council will consider the recommendations of the review with the intention of implementing changes as soon as practicable, or through the Long Term Plan 2018-2028 as required.
The full and summary reports are available to download below.
To track regional economic performance and trends – and provide relevant, up-to-date information to the Northland business community – council produces the Northland Economic Quarterly newsletter.
The link below provides access to a web-based economic profile of Northland. The profile provides an in-depth description of Northland's economic structure and performance over the past year and previous years. It covers a wide range of economic information on the economy (GDP, exports and industrial diversity), employment, productivity, businesses, skills, etc.
The tables and charts are dynamic, enabling you to drill down into an extensive regional database to analyse changes over time and at a various industry levels. It also allows you to make comparisons with New Zealand and other regions and districts that have purchased access to the service.
Access to the web-based profile is purchased jointly with the three district councils in Northland: Kaipara, Far North and Whangārei.
Find the Northland Region Economic Profile hosted by Infometrics.
The four Northland councils also jointly purchase a web-based Quarterly Economic Monitor for each district/region. These contain data and reports on a wide range of economic indicators including GDP, international migration, consents, house prices, retail sales and vehicle registrations. Like the annual economic profile, these tables and charts are dynamic.
This independent report was commissioned by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), in conjunction with the region. It identifies a number of sectors and commercial opportunities that have the potential to sustainably grow incomes, jobs and investment in the Northland region. It provides:
- an overview of the Northland economic and industry context
- an analysis of industry opportunities, focussing on those sectors where quantitative and qualitative evidence shows that Northland has an advantage:
- the visitor economy
- marine manufacturing
- an in depth look at cross-cutting opportunities such as infrastructure, skills, digital and water management, that have the potential to unlock development and growth for improved economic and social outcomes in the region.
Tai Tokerau Northland Regional Growth Study (PDF, 2.7MB)
The Action Plan was jointly launched by the Minister of Economic Development Steven Joyce, the Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy, the Minister for Maori Development Te Ururoa Flavell and David Wilson, CEO of Northland Inc in February 2016. The Action Plan is based on the opportunities outlined in the Tai Tokerau Northland Growth Study with a 10-year horizon that will contribute to transforming Northland's economy. The Action Plan has four work streams: Enablers (roading, digital, skills and capabilities and water resources), Land and Water (looking at ways to use the land and water resources more productively), Visitor Industry (growing tourism through reduced seasonality, product development and better promotion) and Specialised Manufacturing and Services (growing innovation and specialist manufacturing sectors). Many projects are underway with others in the pipeline. It will evolve as projects are realised and others come online.
The Action Plan and reporting on outcomes can be found at: www.northlandnz.com/business/ttneap
In late 2014 council approved allocation of $75,000 from the Investment and Growth Reserve to undertake a 'Northland Strategic Irrigation Infrastructure Study', with a matching contribution from the Ministry for Primary Industries Irrigation Acceleration Fund. The purpose of the study was to undertake a high-level, region-wide study to identify the opportunity for irrigated agriculture to contribute to Northland's economic development. This work was also included in the Tai Tokerau Northland Economic Action Plan given the potential of irrigation infrastructure to lift the region's performance. The scoping report suggested that based on its physical ability and water availability, an additional 92,000 hectares of Northland's land has the potential to be irrigated. A key finding of the study was that further detailed work should focus on two 'clusters' – one in the region's mid-North (containing the Kaikohe, Kerikeri and Waimate North areas) and the other to the south in Kaipara (containing North Kaipara and Ruawai). Another important conclusion reached in the report was that other uses, such as public drinking supply and industrial demand, may be key to making a community based water storage scheme economically viable.
The Northland Strategic Irrigation Infrastructure Study prepared by OPUS International, Aqualinc, BERL and Bob Cathcart (consultant) is available to download in three parts below.
Scoping of Irrigation Scheme Options in Northland
Following on from the Northland Strategic Irrigation Infrastructure Study completed in 2016, council commissioned a consortium led by Opus International to scope up some irrigation scheme options in the Kaipara and Mid-North cluster areas. This project was funded by a $165,000 contribution from council's Investment and Growth Reserve, with a matching contribution from Crown Irrigation Investments Limited.
The study, completed in July 2017, developed four scheme options: one in Kaipara and three in the mid-North area. At this stage none of the options appear overly attractive for private sector investment alone and would likely require public investment. Should any of the schemes proceed, the likely outcome will be a change in land use to horticultural crops such as kiwifruit and avocados rather than conversion to dairy.
Following discussion with other local authorities and central government, council will determine the appropriate response to the recommendations of the report and the next steps, if any, to take.
The Scoping of Irrigation Scheme Options in Northland report is available to download in three parts below. (Please note the large file size of these documents).
These two reports contain important demographic information about Northland. The demographic profile provides an in-depth analysis of population patterns and trends in Northland covering the period 1986-present, and projected to 2031 including the age and ethnic structure and components of change. The profile contains two special topics, looking at the population ageing of selected local industries and movers and stayers, i.e. where do people come from and where do they go to out of Northland. The demographic snapshot provides an overview of the key demographic trends of in Northland. Both reports include analysis of the 2013 Census results.
The link below provides access to an interactive web-based community profile of Northland developed by Infometrics using data that is freely available in the Census. It covers a wide range of demographic information on the population, migration, cultural diversity, families, transport, etc. The Community Profiles enable you to view data down to area unit level. You can compare each area unit against other area units, the Northland region as a whole and the New Zealand total. The latest Census results (2013) can be compared with the results from 2001 or 2006.
To compare area units with various district totals, use the appropriate links below to access data for the Far North, Kaipara and Whangārei.
The regional council is part of UNISA – a long-term collaboration between the Auckland Council (AC), Bay of Plenty Regional Council (BPRC), Northland Regional Council (NRC), Waikato Regional Council (WRC), Hamilton City Council (HCC), Tauranga City Council (TCC) and Whangarei District Council (WDC) for responding to and managing a range of inter-regional and inter-metropolitan issues. Four major studies have been completed to date.
- Independent Port Study (2012)
- The Upper North Island Freight Story (2013)
- Industrial Land Demand Study (2015)
- Upper North Island Key Sector Trends to 2015 and Labour Demand to 2020 (2016)
These studies and other UNISA documents can be downloaded from www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/unisa