Coastal North constituency representative Bill Shepherd will lead the new nine-member Northland Regional Council with Kaipara councillor Graeme Ramsey as his deputy.

Councillors were officially sworn in at their first meeting in Whangarei on Wednesday, electing Mr Shepherd and Mr Ramsey unopposed in one of the first official acts of their three-year term.

Mr Shepherd, 68, is a dairy farmer and company director from Purua.

He said Northland's political landscape had changed markedly with the October 12 elections, introducing new mayors in both the Far North and Whangarei districts and five new councillors on the nine-member NRC, including himself.


That would provide opportunities and challenges but he was committed to forging a strong collaborative team with fellow councillors and other local body leaders.

One of his first tasks as the new chairman would be to meet with the other councillors individually over the next couple of days to discuss their strengths and interests and how these might be aligned with any new committee structures.

Mr Shepherd said potential local government reform is one of the key issues facing Northland and he looks forward to working across local authority boundaries to try to secure the best outcome for the region.

He said while the future is very much on his mind, it is important to acknowledge the work of his predecessor, Craig Brown, and the contributions of the other members of the previous council.

The chairman's role carries a remuneration package of $106,650, which includes a vehicle.

The deputy chairman is paid $73,780 and councillors a base salary of $52,700.

Yesterday's meeting, which followed a powhiri earlier in the day, was largely administrative with councillors briefed on the code of conduct and legislation affecting them, as well as standing orders and other matters.

They are expected to decide upon their committee structure, including who will chair those committees, next month.