April 2017 - Chairman's Report
China Railway Memorandum of Understanding
Our discussions regarding an MoU with China Railway seem to have created a media frenzy with commentators making assumptions that we are selling Northland out to the Chinese.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The MoU, when negotiations of the final details are completed, and it can be released to the public will clearly show that it is as described by our Chief Executive as a ‘handshake on paper’. Whether or not it results in any tangible projects, only time will tell.
Northland clearly needs more and better infrastructure and if outside capital can make some of those projects happen more quickly, with the underlying non-negotiable principle that Northlanders must benefit from the building and use of any infrastructure project, that would be a good thing.
Although the concept of a Unitary Authority for Northland is no longer on the table, the Local Government Commission is still keen to see further progress on shared services and is still keen to assist us wherever possible.
Economic Development Review
Under the Local Government Act Section 17 A we are required to review how we deliver economic development services to the region. We recently engaged consultants MartinJenkins to carry out the review in consultation with the other councils in the region. We await their report with interest. There may well be some potential identified in this report for further shared service options.