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Te motuhaketanga o tō tātou hanganga

What makes our structure unique

When the 'supercity' was formed, we needed a structure which enabled us to meet both regional and local needs. This is how our unique governance model was born.

A new governance model

Most local councils in New Zealand have a Governing Body, which is made up of the mayor and elected councillors. The Governing Body makes all of the decisions for the region.

When central government decided to create Auckland Council back in 2010, it also decided on a new governance model.

Merging all the previous councils into one 'super' Auckland Council meant that it had to be structured in a way to meet the needs of both our region and our local communities.

This meant that we needed a unique structure which was unlike any of the other local councils throughout the country.

Two complementary decision-making parts

Through the Local Government (Auckland Council) Act 2009, central government decided that Auckland would benefit from having two complementary decision-making mechanisms to ensure regional and local needs are met.

Overseeing Auckland as a whole

Today, Auckland Council has a Governing Body that is made up of the mayor and 20 elected councillors from the 13 wards areas, who look after regional issues that affect all of Auckland.

Looking after local communities

Unlike other councils, we also have 21 local boards who look after the issues that are important to their local communities within the Auckland region.

Meet the wider council family

In addition to the Auckland Council organisation itself, our wider family includes:

  • council-controlled organisations (CCOs)
  • Advisory Panels
  • Independent Māori Statutory Board (IMSB).

At council, we refer to this family as the ‘council group’.

A big responsibility

A lot of decisions affect a lot of people, so our structure reflects how big of a job we have to do.

This might seem confusing now, but we will take a close look at each of these parts to see how they work together.

So, what kind of council are we?

We are a unitary authority. Let’s take a look at what that means.

In New Zealand, there are two kinds of local government:

Territorial authorities and regional councils

Territorial authorities are responsible for districts and cities.

Regional councils are responsible for larger areas, and the focus is largely on environmental management

A unitary authority is a combination of both. There are six unitary authorities in New Zealand.

Putting the pieces together

The following puzzle pieces show what territorial authorities and regional councils look after. When they are combined into a unitary authority they become a complete set of responsibilities under one organisation.

Territorial authority

These are also known as city or district councils.

They are responsible for:

  • local land use management
  • water, sewerage, stormwater, solid waste management
  • local roads
  • libraries, parks and reserves.

Regional council

The focus of regional councils is largely environmental management.

This includes:

  • wastewater
  • coastal management
  • river and lake management
  • regional land management
  • regional transport
  • biosecurity.

Unitary authority

A unitary authority is responsible for both territorial authorities and regional councils. Auckland Council is a unitary authority.


Read next topic - Our governance model.


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