Northland Mayoral Forum plans for a supersized ratepayer-funded Northland Inc economic development agency have faltered after Whangārei District Councillors voted not to support the proposal.
This means the loss of what would have been the major 51 per cent district council funding partner for the upsized organisation.
Whangārei Mayor Sheryl Mai said a new joint regional council controlled organisation (CCO) would give Whangarei District Council (WDC) influence on appointment of directors, statement of intent and input into the investment and growth reserve that funded Northland Inc.
Whangārei Deputy Mayor Greg Innes said a regionally strengthened Northland Inc would work well with Tai Tokerau's local government direction.
But Bream Bay Councillor Shelley Deeming said she was not in support of the proposed new model.
"I'm not convinced of the need for us to join into a joint (Northland Inc) CCO," Cr Tricia Cutforth said.
WDC ratepayers would have paid $2.478 million over six years towards the bigger entity – just over half the district councils' contribution from WDC, Far North District Council (FNDC) and Kaipara District Council (KDC) to the upsized organisation.
Northland Regional Council (NRC) is the major Northland Inc funder, WDC making a small annual operating grant.
FNDC, KDC and NRC had already voted to go ahead with committing their ratepayers to paying towards the upsizing before WDC's August 27 council meeting decision.
They had committed to significantly increase contributions over six years to a new version of Northland Inc - FNDC $1.745 million (36 per cent of the councils' total funding), KDC $629,000 (13 per cent) along with NRC's $11.7 million.
But a 45-minute WDC council meeting debate decided by a narrow 8:6 majority against Whangārei ratepayers also shifting to the upsized joint four council CCO.
"The development of our district has to be the prime consideration of this council and this district. If that's taken away from us in a group into which we will have very very limited input, we're losing a major part of the purpose of us being elected by this community." Deeming said.
Mai, Innes, and councillors Gavin Benney, Nick Connop, Anna Murphy, and Carol Peters voted in favour of the proposal.
But Deeming, Vince Cocurullo, Ken Couper, Cutforth, Jayne Golightly, Phil Halse, Greg Martin and Simon Reid voted against it.
Northland Inc's an NRC CCO funded via an investment and growth fund, the genesis of which came when the region's Northland Harbour Board assets were redistributed locally after Government restructuring. These assets were to be for the benefit of the whole region, Northland Inc growing out of this for economic development.
Felicity Foy, FNDC councillor, said it would be good see the proposed new joint-councils' CCO being a true Northland Inc instead of 'Whangārei Inc', as was currently the case.
Northland Inc got $1.8 million from NRC in the 2019/2020 financial year. This was to increase to $3.473 million for 2026/2027.