Council launches ambitious consultation

Published on 09 March 2021

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Far North District Council will visit at least a dozen communities and public events this month, part of a four-week consultation on a range of issues including rates, development rules, climate change and whether the current mix of Councillors and Community Boards best represent Far North communities.

Mayor John Carter says the consultation is the most ambitious undertaken by the Council due to the range of topics and the way in which the consultation is being run. 

The Navigating our course public consultation is seeking feedback on four significant projects – the Long Term Plan 2021-31, Representation Review, the Draft District Plan, and Far North 2100.

Mayor Carter says the projects have implications for all residents. The Long Term Plan looks ahead 10 years and is updated every three years. It sets out what the Council plans to do and how it will pay for those plans. Mayor Carter says of particular interest to ratepayers will be a review of the rates system contained in the LTP.

The Representation Review is conducted every six years and assesses how effectively the district is being represented by Councillors and Community Boards. It asks how many elected members there should be and whether ward and subdivision boundaries need adjusting. 

The Draft District Plan is about land use and enabling growth in the most suitable places. It looks 30 years into the future and is updated every 10 years to ensure it continues to strike the right balance.

Finally, Far North 2100 looks at how the Far North may look in 80 years’ time and considers community wellbeing, economic resilience, adaptation to climate change, physical and digital connections, and how to protect the natural environment for future generations.

“This is a lot to digest, which demands that we consult differently. That’s why we are bringing Navigating our course directly to our communities with week-long drop-in venues to be set up at Kawakawa, Kerikeri, Kaikohe and Kaitaia.” 

The first drop-in venue will be open at Kawakawa’s Te Hononga building from Monday 8 March before moving to Kerikeri the following week, then Kaikohe and finally Kaitaia from 29 March. 

“We will also visit places where people already gather, such as weekend markets, and hold one-day consultations at smaller communities. We have already scheduled visits to Rawene, Whangaroa and Totara North. This consultation is about being accessible, being relevant and making connections.”

He says that where staffing and capacity allows, visits to more communities or events will also be considered. “Unfortunately, we cannot visit every community, which is why we have created a digital hub that explains each project and allows for online feedback. The aim is to give as many people as possible an opportunity to learn about and discuss these projects and to share their views on the future of our district.”

The digital hub will also ensure that the consultation can continue even if new COVID-19 restrictions prevent face-to-face meetings from going ahead. 

“Your views matter and will help guide the decisions we make. That’s why it is important that we hear your voice. So, drop in and talk with us or go online to to learn more about each topic in your own time.”

Go to our Have your say page for a full list of consultation venues and times.