December 2016 - Chairman's report
The new triennium has started at a fast pace with inductions for five new councillors as part of building the new council into a cohesive and effective team. John Bain is now the only councillor who has been on the council for longer than one term.
The new-look council are (standing from left) Crs Mike Finlayson, Joce Yeoman, John Bain, David Sinclair, Justin Blaikie, and Rick Stolwerk with Cr Penny Smart and Chairman Bill Shepherd, seated.
We started our induction programme with a two-day retreat in Russell. All councillors and the Executive Leadership Team took part. Since then the programme has continued at pace with two days per week devoted to internal induction workshops and training provided by Local Government NZ. For the sake of efficiency two of those training workshops were shared with the other councils in the region. Very good value but also very intensive!
Working out a new governance structure that will deliver administrative efficiencies while at the same time providing better opportunities for councillors to have effective governance input, has been one of our early focuses. The new structure is on today's agenda. Recognising that this is a completely new approach, councillors have agreed that the structure will be reviewed in six months' time.
The strategic changes that we made to the governance and operating conditions for Northland Inc. in 2014 are beginning to bear fruit. Northland Inc. has been able to leverage off the investment of around $6 million by the Northland Regional Council to create an economic impact of around $20 million. A pretty good return by anybody's standards!
With a whole lot more projects coming through the Northland Inc. system with the potential to achieve similar impact, the council will be giving consideration as to how we can provide more investment funding over the next 10 years.
There have been two major milestones achieved in Northland over the last month or so:
The first was the ground-breaking ceremony for the Hawaiki cable at Mangawhai which was celebrated by the Prime Minister, Right Hon. John Key; and Communications Minister, Hon. Amy Adams. This will be closely followed by the dawn blessing for State Highway 15 to be attended by Transport Minister, Hon. Simon Bridges.
Both these projects have been in the pipeline for the last three years!
Northland is beginning to come alive.