|Populations||32,600 (West Coast) – 1,527,100 (Auckland)|
|Areas||450 km2 (172 sq mi) (Nelson) – 45,350 km2 (17,508 sq mi) (Canterbury)|
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politics and government of
New Zealand is divided into sixteen regions (Māori : takiwā) for local government purposes. Eleven are administered by regional councils (the top tier of local government), and five are administered by unitary authorities, which are territorial authorities (the second tier of local government) that also perform the functions of regional councils. The Chatham Islands Council is similar to a unitary authority, authorised under its own legislation.
New Zealand is a sovereign island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country has two main landmasses—the North Island, and the South Island —and around 600 smaller islands. It has a total land area of 268,000 square kilometres (103,500 sq mi). New Zealand is about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal, fungal, and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, and its most populous city is Auckland.
Māori, also known as te reo, is an Eastern Polynesian language spoken by the Māori people, the indigenous population of New Zealand. Closely related to Cook Islands Māori, Tuamotuan, and Tahitian, it gained recognition as one of New Zealand's official languages in 1987. The number of speakers of the language has declined sharply since 1945, but a Māori language revitalisation effort slowed the decline, and the language has experienced a revival, particularly since about 2015.
New Zealand has a unitary system of government in which the authority of the central government defines sub-national entities. Local government in New Zealand has only the powers conferred upon it by Parliament.
The regional councils are listed in Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Local Government Act 2002, –the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of their communities.along with reference to the Gazette notices that established them in 1989. The Act requires regional councils to promote sustainable development
Sustainable development is the organizing principle for meeting human development goals while simultaneously sustaining the ability of natural systems to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services upon which the economy and society depend. The desired result is a state of society where living conditions and resources are used to continue to meet human needs without undermining the integrity and stability of the natural system. Sustainable development can be defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
The current regions and most of their councils came into being through a local government reform in 1989 that took place under the Local Government Act 1974. The regional councils replaced the more than 700 ad hoc bodies that had been formed in the preceding century – roads boards, catchment boards, drainage boards, pest control boards, harbour boards, domain and reserve boards.In addition they took over some roles that had previously been performed by county councils. Auckland Regional Council, formed in 1989, was replaced by Auckland Council, a unitary authority, in 2010.
The 1989 local government reform was the most significant reform of local government in New Zealand in over a century. Some 850 local bodies were amalgamated into 86 local authorities, made up of regional and territorial levels.
The Auckland Regional Council (ARC) was the regional council of the Auckland Region. Its predecessor the Auckland Regional Authority (ARA) was formed in 1963 and became the ARC in 1989. The ARC was subsumed into the Auckland Council on 1 November 2010.
The Auckland Council is the local government council for the Auckland Region in New Zealand. The governing body consists of a mayor and 20 councillors, elected from 13 wards. There are also 149 members of 21 local boards who make decisions on matters local to their communities. It is the largest council in Oceania, with a $3 billion annual budget, $29 billion of ratepayer equity, and 9,870 full-time staff as of 30 June 2016. The council began operating on 1 November 2010, combining the functions of the previous regional council and the region's seven city and district councils into one "super council" or "super city".
The boundaries of the regions are based largely on drainage basins. This anticipated the responsibilities of the Resource Management Act 1991.Most regional boundaries conform with territorial authority boundaries but there are a number of exceptions. An example is Taupo District, split between four regions, although most of its area is in the Waikato region.
A drainage basin is any area of land where precipitation collects and drains off into a common outlet, such as into a river, bay, or other body of water. The drainage basin includes all the surface water from rain runoff, snowmelt, and nearby streams that run downslope towards the shared outlet, as well as the groundwater underneath the earth's surface. Drainage basins connect into other drainage basins at lower elevations in a hierarchical pattern, with smaller sub-drainage basins, which in turn drain into another common outlet.
The Resource Management Act (RMA) passed in 1991 in New Zealand is a significant, and at times, controversial Act of Parliament. The RMA promotes the sustainable management of natural and physical resources such as land, air and water. New Zealand's Ministry for the Environment describes the RMA as New Zealand's principal legislation for environmental management.
Territorial authorities are the second tier of local government in New Zealand, below regional councils. There are 67 territorial authorities: 13 city councils, 53 district councils and the Chatham Islands Council. District councils serve a combination of rural and urban communities, while city councils administer the larger urban areas. Five territorial authorities also perform the functions of a regional council and thus are unitary authorities. The Chatham Islands Council is a sui generis territorial authority that is similar to a unitary authority.
Regional authorities are primarily responsible for environmental management, including water, contaminant discharge and coastal management, river and lake management including flood and drainage control, regional land management; regional transport (including public transport) and harbours, biosecurity or pest management. Territorial authorities are responsible for local-level land use management (urban and rural planning); network utility services such as water, sewerage, stormwater and solid waste management; local roads; libraries; parks and reserves; and community development. Property rates (land taxes) are used to fund both regional and territorial government activities. There is often a high degree of co-operation between regional and territorial councils as they have complementary roles.
Regional councils have these specific functions under the Resource Management Act 1991.
A resource consent is the authorisation given to certain activities or uses of natural and physical resources required under the New Zealand Resource Management Act. Some activities may either be specifically authorised by the RMA or be permitted activities authorised by rules in plans. Any activities that are not permitted by the RMA, or by a rule in a plan, require a resource consent before they are carried out.
Regional councils have responsibility for functions under other statutes;
(name in Māori if different)
|Regional council||Chair||Seats||Council seat||Island||Area (km²)||Population||Density |
|ISO 3166-2 Code|
|1|| Northland |
Te Tai Tokerau
|Northland Regional Council||Bill Shepherd||9||Whangarei||North||12,498||179,100||13.71|
|2|| Auckland (1)|
|Auckland Council||Phil Goff||21||Auckland||North||4,940||1,695,900||326.78|
|3||Waikato||Waikato Regional Council||Alan Livingston||14||Hamilton||North||23,900||468,800||18.79|
|4|| Bay of Plenty |
|Bay of Plenty Regional Council||Doug Leeder||14||Whakatane||North||12,071||305,700||24.31|
|5|| Gisborne (1)(2)|
Te Tai Rāwhiti
|Gisborne District Council||Rehette Stoltz||14||Gisborne||North||8,386||49,100||5.71|
|6|| Hawke's Bay |
|Hawke's Bay Regional Council||Rex Graham||9||Napier||North||14,137||165,900||11.42|
|7||Taranaki||Taranaki Regional Council||David MacLeod||11||Stratford||North||7,254||119,600||16.07|
|8|| Manawatu-Wanganui |
|Horizons Regional Council||Bruce Gordon||12||Palmerston North||North||22,221||234,500||10.55|
|9|| Wellington |
|Greater Wellington Regional Council||Chris Laidlaw||13||Wellington||North||8,049||521,500||62.73|
|10|| Tasman (1)|
|Tasman District Council||Richard Kempthorne||13||Richmond||South||9,616||52,100||5.23|
|11|| Nelson (1)|
|Nelson City Council||Rachel Reese||13||Nelson||South||424||51,900||119.34|
|12|| Marlborough (1)|
|Marlborough District Council||John Leggett||14||Blenheim||South||10,458||46,600||4.35|
|13|| West Coast |
Te Tai Poutini
|West Coast Regional Council||Andrew Robb||7||Greymouth||South||23,244||32,600||1.4|
|14|| Canterbury |
|Canterbury Regional Council||Margaret Bazley||14||Christchurch||South||44,508||624,000||13.48|
|15|| Otago |
|Otago Regional Council||Stephen Woodhead||12||Dunedin||South||31,209||229,200||7.02|
|16|| Southland |
|Southland Regional Council||Nicol Horrell||12||Invercargill||South||31,195||99,100||3.14|
Notes: (1) These regions have unitary authorities . (2) The Gisborne Region is still widely but unofficially known by its former name (East Cape) or as East Coast.
Some outlying islands are not included within regional boundaries. The Chatham Islands is not in a region, although its council has some of the powers of a regional council under the Resource Management Act. The Kermadecs and the subantarctic islands are inhabited only by a small number of Department of Conservation staff, and the Conservation Minister is empowered to act as a regional council for these islands.
Regional councils are popularly elected every three years in accordance with the Local Electoral Act 2001,except for the Canterbury regional council, which is a mixture of elected councilors and government appointed commissioners. Councils may use a first past the post or single transferable vote system. The chairperson is selected by the elected council members.
The Auckland Regional Council was preceded by the Auckland Regional Authority (ARA), which existed from 1963 to 1989.
The Wellington Regional Council was first formed in 1980 from a merger of the Wellington Regional Planning Authority and the Wellington Regional Water Board.
In 1978, legislation was passed enabling the formation of regions with united councils. Twenty regions were designated, excluding the Auckland and Wellington areas. For most of the country this was the first regional level of government since the abolition of provinces in 1876. Councillors were not elected directly – they were appointed from the various territorial local authorities (TLAs) within the region.
The only responsibilities mandated by the legislation were coordination of civil defence and development of a regional plan, although the constituent TLAs could agree on additional responsibilities at the point of formation of each united council. For example, in a number of cases the united council took responsibility for the allocation of revenue from regional petrol taxes.
The united councils were based in the facilities of the largest TLA in the region and largely dependent on the TLAs for resources. They were allowed to levy rates but in most cases had minimal operating budgets (below $100,000 per annum). The notable exception was Canterbury, where the united council had a number of responsibilities. Only one united council undertook any direct operational activity – a forestry project in Wanganui.
|Region||United council formed||Levy rates (1982/83)|
|Thames Valley||July 1980||$46,000|
|Bay of Plenty||August 1979||$17,000|
|East Cape||August 1979||$16,000|
|Hawkes Bay||December 1983||–|
|Nelson Bays||November 1978||$84,000|
|West Coast||November 1978||$32,000|
|Coastal / North Otago||April 1983||–|
|Clutha / Central Otago||November 1980||$33,000|
Source: Summary of the Functions and Activities of United Councils. Dept of Internal Affairs, 1984.
Devolution is the statutory delegation of powers from the central government of a sovereign state to govern at a subnational level, such as a regional or local level. It is a form of administrative decentralization. Devolved territories have the power to make legislation relevant to the area and thus granting them a higher level of autonomy.
The provinces of the Colony of New Zealand existed as a form of sub-national government. Established in 1841, each province had its own legislature and was built around the six original planned settlements or "colonies". By 1873 the number of provinces had increased to nine, but they had become less isolated from each other and demands for centralised government arose. In 1875 the national parliament decided to abolish the provincial governments, and they came to an end in 1876. They were superseded by counties, which were later replaced by territorial authorities.
The pattern of local government in England is complex, with the distribution of functions varying according to the local arrangements.
The Local Government Act 1974 of New Zealand consolidated the previous law relating to local government that applied to territorial local authorities, regional and district council bodies in New Zealand.
Kaitiaki is a New Zealand Māori term used for the concept of guardianship, for the sky, the sea, and the land. A kaitiaki is a guardian, and the process and practices of protecting and looking after the environment are referred to as kaitiakitanga.
The Environment Court of New Zealand is a specialist court for plans, resource consents and environmental issues. It mainly deals with issues arising under the Resource Management Act, meaning that it covers a wide range of potential future effects of planning applications, which can include such areas as traffic congestion, noise/pollution emissions and social and commercial consequences, rather than just the 'ecological' aspects that could be implied by the 'environmental' term.
Canterbury Regional Council is the regional council for Canterbury, the largest region in the South Island of New Zealand. It is part of New Zealand's structure of local government. It uses the promotional name Environment Canterbury, frequently abbreviated to ECan.
A district in New Zealand is a territorial authority area governed by a district council as a second-tier of local government in New Zealand, below regional councils. They were formed as a result of local government reforms in 1989. There are 53 districts in New Zealand, and they do not include the 13 city councils, and the Chatham Islands Council. District councils serve a combination of rural and urban communities, while city councils administer the larger urban areas. Three districts are unitary authorities also performing the functions of a regional council.
The 2010 New Zealand local elections were triennial elections to select local government officials and district health board members. All elections are conducted by postal ballot, with election day being Saturday 9 October 2010.
Local government bodies in New Zealand have responsibilities under the Local Government Act 2002 (LGA) to perform a wide range of functions, and provide a wide range of services to the communities they represent. There is not an explicit focus on human rights in New Zealand local government, or any direct reference to human rights under the LGA. Local bodies in New Zealand are required to act in a way that is consistent with the rights guaranteed under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 (NZBORA). Internationally there is growing consideration of how local government does and could promote and protect fundamental rights.
Fire and Emergency New Zealand is New Zealand's main firefighting and emergency services body.
Administrative divisions of the Realm of New Zealand
|Regions||11 non-unitary regions||5 unitary regions||Chatham Islands|| Outlying islands outside any regional authority|
(the Kermadec Islands, Three Kings Islands, and Subantarctic Islands)
|Ross Dependency||15 islands||14 villages|
|Territorial authorities||13 cities and 53 districts|
|Notes||Some districts lie in more than one region||These combine the regional and the territorial authority levels in one||Special territorial authority||The outlying Solander Islands form part of the Southland Region||New Zealand's Antarctic territory||Non-self-governing territory of New Zealand||States in free association with New Zealand|