The submissions have been heard and now the analysis is being done before a decision is made on the future of local government in Northland.

The Local Government Commission has been consulting on its draft proposal to combine the Northland regional and Far North, Whangarei and Kaipara district councils into a single authority as early as 2015, and received 1850 submissions on the proposal.

Almost 90 per cent of the 1850 submissions opposed, while 71 per cent of Whangarei people surveyed by the Whangarei District Council were also against the proposal.

The commission heard many of the submissions at centres throughout the region and LGC chief executive Donald Riezebos said the public hearings were now complete with the commission analysing the information before deciding its next steps.


Mr Riezebos has released a summary of the public hearings process and identified several points which submitters asked the commission to consider further.

He said that Parliament's Local Government and Environment Select Committee has reported back on proposed changes to the Local Government Act which allow for greater use of local boards within council structures, an issue that some submitters touched on. The bill is now awaiting its second reading.

Mr Riezebos said the commissioners held public hearings and met iwi and hapu in 10 locations throughout Northland over 15 days between April 5 and 30.

"The commission travelled to Dargaville, Mangawhai, Whangarei, Waitangi, Kerikeri, Kaikohe, Kaitaia, Leigh, Kaeo and the Waipoua Forest. Almost 200 people spoke to their submissions and discussed their ideas for the best shape of local government in Northland," he said.

"The public hearings process has been highly valuable. The input from individuals, councils, iwi and hapu, business groups, community groups, employers and union representatives has helped the process immensely.

"We have always been open to hearing if there are better ideas for the future shape of local government in Northland."

Mr Riezebos said the next steps in the process are guided by a number of requirements in law. The commission is able to undertake further inquiries and consultation with other groups, if needed.

It then has four options:


Issue the draft proposal as a final proposal.

Modify the draft and issue it as a final proposal.

Issue a new draft proposal based on a different option for local government in Northland.

Decide not to issue a final proposal at all (retain the status quo).