Northland to host pre-conference local authority tour

18 May 2017, 3:04 PM

Some of Northland's best-kept secrets will be showcased to delegates from 10 regional and unitary councils around New Zealand ahead of a national local government conference in Auckland in late July.

Northland Regional Council (NRC) Chairman Bill Shepherd says Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) is scheduled to hold its three-day annual conference in Auckland from July 23-25.

However, given its relative proximity to Northland, the NRC had successfully floated the idea of hosting some of the 16 regional and unitary councils that make up LGNZ's 'regional sector group' on a pre-conference tour of the North.

"It's a great opportunity to showcase both Northland itself – and some of the wide variety of work the Northland Regional Council does on behalf of its communities – to fellow regional and unitary authority members."

Chairman Shepherd says 39 people from 10 councils are currently signed up, with the costs of the 20-22 July Northland tour – during which delegates will also spend two nights at Waitangi – to be met by the councils taking part.

Participating local authorities included regional councils from Southland, Otago, the South Island's West Coast, Greater Wellington, Taranaki, Hawke's Bay, Waikato, the Manawatu-Wanganui area and Northland, as well as the Tasman District Council.

The programme includes a tour and cultural show at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, a kauri forest bush walk and visit to an award-winning farm with pest control work and bush restoration.

Delegates would also travel along Te Oneroa-a-Tōhē/Ninety Mile Beach to find out about co-governance arrangements in place there, and visit Oturu's award-winning Enviroschool, which features beehives, chickens and an orchard.

Participants will also visit Whangarei's multimillion dollar Hopua te Nihotetea floodwater detention dam, the regional council's expanding poplar and willow nursery at Mata, and tour NorthPort and NIWA's Bream Bay research centre.

Chairman Shepherd says it will be a privilege to show fellow local authority members – some of whom may never have been to Northland before – what the region has to offer.