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District councils’ input sought on Northland Inc board

10 December, 2013

District councils’ input sought on Northland Inc board

Two new directors are to be sought for the board of regional economic development agency Northland Inc, with the leaders of the Far North, Whangarei and Kaipara District Councils all to be offered crucial input into the selection process.

New Northland Regional Council (NRC) Chairman Bill Shepherd says the council – which owns Northland Inc on behalf of its ratepayers – wants to expand its current three member board to five to capture a broader range of skills and experience.

He says both the Far North and Whangarei District Councils already have their own economic development initiatives and it’s important Northland’s councils work collaboratively to try to ensure those programmes aren’t competing against each other.

Councillor Shepherd says informal approaches have already been made to the district councils to see if they’d be interested in helping to choose the two new Northland Inc directors and letters formally inviting their involvement would be sent shortly.

The invites will go to the mayors of both the Far North and Whangarei District Councils (John Carter and Sheryl Mai) and the Chairman of Commissioners for the Kaipara District Council (John Robertson).

Councillor Shepherd says the offer makes sense and is another example of how councils in Northland can work more closely together for the common good of their shared ratepayer base.

He says advertisements inviting applications for the two directors’ roles are expected to be placed soon.

The district councils’ leaders will form part of an ad hoc group that shortlists applicants.

“Shortlisted applicants will then be interviewed by a four-member selection panel made up of the two mayors, Mr Robertson and myself.”

Councillor Shepherd says all going well, the regional council hopes to see the two new directors in place early next year.

They will join current chairman Colin Mitten, Karleen Everitt and Sarah Petersen on the board.

Mr Mitten has more than 30 years management experience in both the public and private sectors in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States. Ms Everitt is the chief executive of a Bay of Islands indigenous event and project management service and Ms Petersenthe chief financial officer for an international education consultancy.

Meanwhile, Cr Shepherd says Northland Inc currently has a number of exciting projects under way.

While many of the details surrounding these are currently confidential for commercial reasons, the projects involved traversed a number of key sectors in the regional economy including marine, wood processing, aquaculture, tourism and digital technologies.

Northland Inc was confident that collectively these projects would over the next several years help to diversify the regional economy and increase employment with potentially hundreds of jobs at stake.

ENDS

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