What we do

How we work

By law
Various Acts of Parliament, such as the Local Government Act (LGA) 2002 and the Resource Management Act 1991, provide the framework to enable us to carry out our work.

The Local Government Act is not prescriptive, meaning that if the community wants us to do something - and is prepared to pay for it - we can do it.

Led by Councillors
Regional councillors are elected every three years.  They make key decisions about policy and budget, and are your community voice.

Management structure
Councillors appoint a Chief Executive to lead the organisation.  Malcolm Nicolson is the Northland Regional Council Chief Executive.  Council services are led by an Executive Leadership Team that operates the following business units:

  • Chief Executive Officer - Malcolm Nicolson
  • Customer Services|Community Resilience - led by Tony Phipps
  • Corporate Excellence - led by Bruce Howse
  • Strategy, Governance and Engagement - led by Ben Lee
  • Environmental Services - led by Jonathan Gibbard
  • Regulatory Services - led by Colin Dall

Executive team profiles
Read the profiles of our Executive Leadership Team members

Each business group provides a range of services, as detailed below.

What we do

Our staff and business groups are involved in a wide range of activities.

Use the "What we do" infographic by clicking on each activity to take you to more information.
(May not work on a mobile device).

How we’re preparing communities for emergency situations. Resource consent, consent compliance and regional plan rules information. Find out more about your council and how we engage with the community. Information about our role in economic development. How we’re helping Northlanders get around. What we’re doing to reduce flood risks in Northland. Find out about pest and weed control Safe boating and navigational safety information. We have a variety of roles when it comes to caring for Northland’s water. How we work with landowners and manage our land resources. Find out how we work with Māori in our region.


Working together

As your regional council we're working with you to create a healthy environment, a strong economy and resilient communities. Watch our 'Who we are and what we do' videos via our YouTube channel.

View a summary of what we do in our Resource Library

Our activities include:

Awards and funding
At different times of the year, we offer awards and funding to individuals and organisations across a variety of areas.

The biggest is the Environment Fund, which since 1996 has provided around $3 million to help people improve and protect Northland’s natural environment.

We also provide numerous schools with environmental education awards and support a range of business and rural industry awards.

Biosecurity is about protecting our environment, economy and way of life from the harmful impacts of pest animals, pest plants and diseases. Our officers work with landowners to target regional pest plants and animals and help the rural economy by controlling possums to stop the spread of bovine Tuberculosis.

Education and public information
Our specialist staff hosts seminars and field days designed to educate Northlanders about a variety of topics linked to the environment, while others visit schools to deliver environmental education initiatives. We also produce a wide range of publications and self-help guides covering most aspects of our work.

Emergency management
Northland Regional Council co-ordinates the Civil Defence Emergency Management Group for the region. This group works together to minimise the potential effects of emergencies, prepare ourselves and the community, respond to emergencies and help the community to recover.

We look after the navigational safety of all vessels in our region’s harbours – from Kaipara in the south to Parengarenga in the north - and around the regional coastline.

We encourage safe boating behaviour and are ready to respond in case of a marine oil spill.

Land management
We encourage landowners to recognise the economic and social value of managing land in a way that will protect the resource and meet the needs of current and future generations. Our officers work with landowners to develop sustainability and property conservation plans, and with rural community groups to promote soil conservation.

Pollution control
We maintain a 24-hour incident response service, conduct environmental assessments of industrial and commercial sites, and maintain a register of sites with hazardous industries or activities.

To report a pollution incident call our 24/7 Environmental Hotline: 0800 504 639.

Economic development
We support economic development, including the promotion of Northland tourism, through Northland Inc Ltd, the regions's economic development agency. It is a Council Controlled Organisation (CCO) of the Northland Regional Council and a limited liability company. 

Find the Board members for Northland Inc

The council has established an Investment and Growth Reserve which will be used to fund projects that increase our region's economic performance. The initial criteria for the use of the reserve was published in our Long Term Plan 2012-2022 and subsequently updated in February 2014. The criteria is available to download from the Economic Development page on this website.

We help plan the region’s roading network and administer a number of passenger bus services around Northland.

Environmental planning and monitoring
The region’s natural resources sustain our lives. We help people to use these resources appropriately and sustainably. Through regional plans, resource consents and monitoring, we work with the community to care for our environment – air, land, water and coast.

Flood protection
The region’s rivers can put homes, farmland, jobs, livelihoods and property at risk from flooding. We help communities protect themselves from the effects of flooding.

Water management
We ensure there is enough water for everyone - a difficult task with so many competing needs.  Water allocation, use and monitoring help control the situation.

Our vision, mission and values

Our vision underpins everything we do. It’s ultimately about working together to care for our region’s incredible environment and many communities, matching our skills and resources with the vision and aspirations of our people. It’s part of our strategic direction, which drives both what we do and how we do it.

Read our vision, mission and values and strategic summary document


We get our income from a variety of sources: 

  • general rates; 
  • income from investments; 
  • government grants; 
  • separate rates; and
  • direct charges.

Find out more about rates and how the Council is funded

Find out more:
View or download a copy of the Long Term Plan