The Government has appointed a Crown observer to work with the newly elected Kaipara District Council for a year.

Barry Harris has been appointed by Associate Local Government Minister Louise Upston.

Kaipara has been run by Government-appointed commissioners since 2012 as a result of the former district council accumulating $65 million in debt for the Mangawhai sewage scheme.

Ruawai farmer Greg Gent, a former deputy chairman of Fonterra, was elected mayor of the Kaipara District Council in last week's election.


Upston said Harris would advise and guide the council and would not have a decision-making role.

"I encourage locals to get behind their locally elected representatives. There are challenges ahead and it is important locals work with the council to build a positive future together."

Harris' appointment would end at the end of September next year. He was an experienced chief executive and had worked at South Waikato District Council, Environment Waikato, Greater Wellington Regional Council and most recently the Hamilton City Council.

Harris holds a number of directorships, including at Agricultural Services Ltd, Food Innovation Waikato, Dairy NZ and OSPRI.

He was previously a group director at Fonterra and director at RD1 Ltd.