31 March 2017

The future needs of more than 2.5 million Kiwis have been given a voice this week through the release of The Upper North Island Story; a report that shows how life could change for more than 53 percent of New Zealanders in the coming decade.  

Auckland Council Mayor Phil Goff said that The Upper North Island Story report is a step towards aligning local and central government priorities to support economic growth, good living standards and healthy environments.

The report was prepared by an alliance of seven district, city and regional councils across Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Auckland and Northland regions. It identifies the need for collaborative investment and planning to tackle increasing pressure on housing, infrastructure, natural resources (such as water and productive land), skilled labour and transport systems. 

“From Northland to Waikato, the Upper North Island supports 53 percent of the national population and generates 52 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  Growth here is increasing more rapidly than for the rest of the country and will continue to do so. That’s good for New Zealand, but sustaining it comes with challenges that local councils can’t manage alone.

By working together to identify and focus on the things that matter most, we can create the best possible future for all New Zealanders,” Mayor Goff said.

The seven councils established the Upper North Island Strategic Alliance (UNISA) in 2011 to co-ordinate their efforts in understanding and tackling inter-regional challenges. Mayors and Chairs from the partner councils met in Auckland today, chaired by Mayor Goff. They received the Upper North Island Story and re-confirmed their commitment to working together by signing a UNISA partnership agreement for 2017-2019.

The Upper North Island Story outlines population and economic growth projections to 2033. It identifies key challenges and opportunities that Upper North Island communities will face as a result of projected changes. UNISA partners will now be working together to tackle shared challenges and maximise opportunities through collaborative investment, planning and advocacy work.