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Upper North Island councils reaffirm partnership

Upper North Island councils reaffirm commitment to working together

Waikato Regional Council believes a continued partnership through a multi-agency alliance is necessary to achieve the best for more than half of New Zealand’s population.

Regional council chair Russ Rimmington said, “Collaboration through this partnership is especially important as we work towards improving the wellbeing of Waikato’s communities.

“Combined, the upper North Island represents more than 50 per cent of New Zealand’s gross domestic product and has the majority of the country’s people within its boundaries. Successful collaboration in the upper North Island will enable the best possible future for New Zealand.

“So, it was a no-brainer when it came to our council reconfirming our collective efforts under the UNISA umbrella and we look forward to working with all the partners,” Cr Rimmington said.

An updated version of the Upper North Island Strategic Alliance (UNISA) triennial agreement was signed by partners at a meeting held in Auckland last week (Friday, 31 January).

The UNISA agreement establishes long-term collaboration between seven councils from the upper North Island (UNI) and their work identifying shared opportunities. Members include Auckland Council, Bay of Plenty, Northland and Waikato regional councils, Hamilton and Tauranga city councils, and Whangarei District Council.

The meeting also included discussion on a range of issues affecting the upper North Island. This includes the Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy and meeting with central government on this subject. Three UNISA members have financial interests in one or more of the three ports, Ports of Auckland, Port of Tauranga and Northport. Furthermore, as central government’s delivery partners in any Upper North Island supply chain strategy, all seven councils, and their four regional transport committees, have a key role going forward.

The meeting was also an opportunity to present the updated version of The Upper North Island Story and highlight changes since it was published in 2016, with the aim to outline the key opportunities ahead for the UNI regions and cities.

The Upper North Island Story is about growth, change and how important the connections between the regions and cities of the UNI are to the success of New Zealand. The Upper North Island Story continues to illustrate the need for collaboration between partners to maximise the value that the Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Whangarei and the regions that surround them can deliver for New Zealand as a whole.

UNISA comprises councils from the four regions, plus the largest city in each, with mayors and chairs making up the respective alliance. The member regions and cities have strong interdependencies and linkages especially in relation to people, transport and freight.

UNISA’s primary purpose and function is to respond to and manage a range of inter-regional and inter-metropolitan issues. This includes developing agreed positions of national and regional importance and providing a shared voice when working with central government.

The upper North Island (UNI), from Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions to Northland, supports 54 percent of the national population. The area is responsible for about 54 per cent of New Zealand’s GDP and the average annual GDP growth per capita in the UNI continues to grow faster than the rest of New Zealand. It contains three of New Zealand’s five largest urban areas and the country’s largest international gateways (Northport, Ports of Auckland and Tauranga, Auckland International Airport), with the UNI ports between them responsible for 65 per cent of cargo movements in terms of value.

The UNI Story is a report by UNISA which collates existing data from various sources (mainly
Statistics NZ) and outlines key challenges and opportunities ahead for the UNI regions and cities. The report provides a shared knowledge and contextual platform that sets the scene for decision-making and future planning work.

Snapshot of the Upper North Island

• 20% of New Zealand’s land mass
• 54% of New Zealand’s population
• 54% of New Zealand’s GDP
• 65% of New Zealand’s cargo by value through UNI ports
• 51% of international tourism spend
• 52% of New Zealand’s Maori asset base

For more information on Waikato Regional Council’s involvement in UNISA, see our website link: www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/unisa

For more information on UNISA, see the website:

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