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Broader Economic Focus For NRC Trust

Broader Economic Focus For NRC Trust

A range of changes to the way the Northland Regional Council Community Trust (NRCCT) is run will include a broader focus designed to strategically grow Northland’s economy.

At their monthly meeting in Whangarei recently, Northland Regional Councillors formally adopted many of the recommendations contained in an independent consultants’ report on the seven-member trust, which operates as Enterprise Northland.

As suggested by the report’s authors, Australasian consultants Morrison Low, the Council will take over management of the multimillion dollar trust fund as part of its overall investment portfolio, possibly by the end of the year.

The NRCCT was formed in 1996 with the proceeds of the sale of some of the Regional Council’s majority shareholding in the Northland Port Corporation. It has two subsidiaries; regional tourism body Destination Northland Ltd (set up in 1997) and the Enterprise Northland Trust (established in 2002) which supports economic development and sustainable business.

Another of the key recommendations adopted will see a broadening of Destination Northland’s current tourism focus to a wider regional marketing one promoting the region as a place to work, invest and visit.

Central to this will be the development of an NRC-driven ‘Regional Growth Strategy’ which will set out a long-term direction and strategy for economic development. The NRC will also formally guarantee the NRCCT funding over a three-year period on an agreed approach designed to deliver on the Regional Growth Strategy.

Trust Chairman Mike Simm says the 12 year old trust - already acknowledged as one of the most effective in the country – had met with the Regional Council a number of times in recent months to discuss the Morrison Low report.

“Trustees are now satisfied the planned changes will ensure not only the best delivery of services, but also that effective economic development strategies are being implemented for the benefit of the entire region.”

Mr Simm says under the new regime, the trust will be responsible for the development and implementation of an Annual Business Plan.

The Regional Council will assume responsibility for production of quarterly economic indicator information – including analysis of economic trends and drivers - that will be made available to all interested parties in the region.

The NRC will have final say over the appointment of NRCCT trustees, whose numbers will be limited to a maximum of eight and who will be paid market rates for their technical and board expertise. Enterprise Northland will consist of a Chief Executive Officer and an as-yet undetermined number of “project management staff reflective of the new governance regime”.

A Shareholder Representative Group is to be formed and will hold regular meetings with the NRCCT. (The shareholder group will initially be made up of Regional Council Chairman Mark Farnsworth, his deputy Ian Walker and the Council’s Chief Executive Officer Ken Paterson, however, the group can second additional members ‘as necessary’).

Mr Simm says feedback from stakeholders – including the region’s three District Councils and the private sector – had been sought on the Morrison Low report before Regional Councillors had made their decisions recently.

He says Enterprise Northland will actively liaise with the Regional Council, Northland’s three District Councils, the private sector and other stakeholders in the future to ensure all are “jointly contributing to the success of the region”.


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