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Council alliance to represent half of all New Zealanders

Council alliance to represent half of all New Zealanders

An alliance has been announced which brings together seven councils in the top half of the North Island, representing more than half of all New Zealanders.

The Upper North Island Strategic Alliance (UNISA) involves Northland Regional Council, Whangarei District Council, Auckland Council, Waikato Regional Council, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Hamilton City Council and Tauranga City Council.

The agreement will enable the seven councils, representing a combined population of 2.3 million, to collaborate on a wide range of inter-regional and inter-metropolitan issues.

These include economic development, transport, tourism, emergency preparedness, ports, waste and water.

UNISA has no decision-making authority but can make recommendations to the seven constituent councils and to central government.

“The challenge for UNISA is to increase the contribution of the top half of the North Island to the nation’s economy,” says Auckland Mayor Len Brown.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Chair John Cronin says there are benefits in councils cooperating on a range of issues even if their respective aspirations are not always compatible.

“UNISA will have a focus on specific development opportunities such as fish farming in the Hauraki Gulf, access to aggregate resources for roading and building, and cross-boundary resource management issues,” says Waikato Regional Council Chair Peter Buckley.

Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker says the agreement is the start of a strong collaborative relationship between councils in the Upper North Island to work together to deliver better outcomes for all of New Zealand.

A signing ceremony will take place at the Auckland Town Hall at 1pm on Saturday 8 October 2011.

Ends

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