Explore Northland Minerals Group
What are the new opportunities for Northland?
Northland has a geological history spanning more than 250 million years of sedimentation, tectonism and volcanism that has endowed it with a wide variety of mineral deposits.
Recent mineral resource assessments and prospectivity studies have highlighted the unrealised mineral potential and encouraged central and local Governments to fund three new initiatives in 2011 to assist mineral exploration:
- A digital compilation of exploration and research data.
- New airborne geophysical surveys.
- A geological interpretation of the airborne geophysical survey data.
How did we get to where we are today?
An initial mineral resource assessment and an economic study (both undertaken in 2007) highlighted Northland’s mineral potential and the economic benefits of increased mineral production to Northland.
The next step was to investigate the feasibility of an airborne geophysical survey as a means of further developing Northland’s prospectivity to attract international mineral exploration investment. This aligned with the Government’s research and investigation programme of New Zealand’s on-shore mineral resources and prospectivity.
As a result the then Ministry of Economic Development, Northland Regional Council, and Far North District Council commissioned and funded on behalf of the Explore Northland Minerals group an airborne geophysical survey of Northland by UTS Aeroquest, and a geological interpretation of the resulting magnetic and radiometric data by GNS Science.
Who has been involved in the Explore Northland Minerals group over the past 5 years?
All Northland regional and district Councils; Enterprise Northland (the regional economic development agency, now Northland Inc); Ministry of Economic Development (now Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment I Economic Development I New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals); representatives of Australasian and international mineral prospecting and extraction companies and associations; GNS Science; independent geologists; iwi representatives; Department of Conservation.
Spokesman for the group is Wayne Brown, Mayor, Far North District.
What are the other uses of this new data in addition to mineral exploration?
The data has wide applications in fields such as:
- geological mapping (e.g., assessing new sources of aggregate resources);
- geothermal exploration (e.g., advancing energy generation development activity);
- soil mapping for forestry, agriculture and horticulture (e.g., identifying suitable areas for (re-development);
- identification of potential water-bearing structures (e.g., identifying irrigation sources for horticulture);
- geological hazard assessment (e.g., identifies unstable features such as faults for infrastructure planning); and
- engineering and construction investigations (e.g., helps plan routes for new roading infrastructure).
In addition to magnetic and radiometric data, the survey now also provides a digital elevation model that is available for application by the various industry sectors.
How can I get hold of the new data?
A comprehensive package of digital data ‘Northland 2012 Data Pack’ from the airborne geophysical survey is now available to order free via the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment I Economic Development I New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals‘ Online Exploration Database.
Please note: you must register for the database in order to download/order data.
New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals contracted GNS Science (a Crown Research Institute and New Zealand’s leading provider of Earth, geoscience and isotope research and consultancy services) to interpret the data to identify geological and structural elements in the survey area. The ‘Northland 2012 Data Pack’, contains data to accompany GNS’s interpretation, including an ESRI geo-database, tiff images, GIS shape files and ESRI grids. In addition an ESRI ArcMap project is provided for viewing all the data.
What does the current mineral extraction industry in Northland look like?
Northland has a diverse history of mining and a significant ongoing mining industry presence. During 2009 the region produced 3.6 million tonnes of minerals with a value of $35.1 million (excluding the value of cement).
Mineral production in Northland is currently dominated by:
- Limestone for the Golden Bay Cement plant at Portland which produces more than half of the cement used in New Zealand and also exports cement;
- High quality china clay, produced at Matauri Bay, for export;
- Aggregate, being produced at more than fifty quarries throughout Northland;
- Limestone, used mainly as fertiliser in farming, from more than twenty quarries; and
- Sand, both from onshore and offshore resources, for building and industrial use.
During the 1960s and 1970s, exploration for metallic minerals was carried out by a number of companies, for copper, mercury, antimony, manganese, and aluminium (bauxite). In the 1980s, recognition of epithermal style mercury-antimony-arsenic-silver mineralisation and hydrothermal alteration in eastern Northland led to a surge of precious metal exploration, although little drilling was carried out. Exploration declined, and over the last twenty years has been restricted to Puhipuhi and Kaeo.
What are the benefits of undertaking airborne magnetic surveying?
Access to geophysical data reduces the risks associated with mineral exploration by helping to better identify potential mineral-bearing structures. Ground exploration and disturbance is minimised by making exploration more focussed and cost effective.
What are Airborne Magnetic Surveys?
An airborne magnetic survey records changes in the Earth’s magnetic field caused by different rock types. It is particularly sensitive to differences in the content of magnetic minerals such as iron-rich magnetite. Sedimentary rocks (greywacke and limestone) in Northland have lower magnetite content, while volcanic rocks (e.g., andesite and basalt) generally have much higher magnetite content. Airborne magnetic surveys distinguish between non-magnetic rocks such as greywacke and volcanic rocks such as andesite and basalt. The data generated enables the depth and extent of various layers of rock, often hidden by layers above and only exposed in a few sites or encountered in bores, to be more accurately recorded, reducing the uncertainty involved in geological mapping.
The Northland survey consisted of some 80,710 kilometres of airborne magnetic data having surveyed 13,590 km2. Magnetic features (termed anomalies, as they are distortions of the natural field) can be followed up with site-specific ground geophysical and geochemical surveys at low cost. Obtaining subsurface information by drilling is expensive so when geophysical data is added to geological mapping and any other available sources of subsurface information, drilling can be much more effectively targeted, reducing cost.
What are Radiometric Surveys?
Radiometric data are measured with a gamma-ray scintillation spectrometer which detects gamma rays emitted naturally by radioactive elements. Gamma rays are tiny bursts of very high frequency, high energy electromagnetic waves that are spontaneously emitted by the nuclei of some isotopes of some elements. They have much shorter wavelengths than most other electromagnetic rays and emanate from depths less than ~35 centimetres. The technique therefore has the ability to map soil and exposed bedrock.
All rocks, and materials derived from the rocks, are radioactive, containing detectable amounts of a variety of radioactive elements. Potassium (K), thorium (Th), and uranium (U) are the three most abundant, naturally occurring radioactive elements. Potassium is a major constituent of most rocks and is associated with many mineral deposits.
The potassium data shows positive anomalies associated with some clastic sediments and recent coastal sands, whereas contrasting radiometric responses in the thorium data distinguish the main units of the Northland Allochthon. Potassium enrichment accompanies some hydrothermal alteration and therefore a detailed interpretation of the potassium data may help identify new exploration targets.
However, there are limitations in the use of radiometrics in Northland for mineral exploration, because of the dense vegetation and the use of potassium fertiliser on pasture land. Nevertheless, there are applications in soil mapping (and agriculture, horticulture and forestry), identification of groundwater recharge areas, and geothermal exploration.
What is a Digital Elevation Model?
Flight elevation data collected during the survey has been processed to produce a digital elevation model that will be useful for a variety of applications such as terrain mapping for road planning, finding north facing slopes for horticulture, and slip hazard assessment related to steep slopes. The resolution is about 40 metres and although not high in detail, the digital elevation model provides a manageable data set that can be used for classification studies.
Who administers the mineral rights in New Zealand?
Mineral rights in New Zealand are granted under the Crown Minerals Act 1991, which is administered by New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals. A company or person wanting to undertake prospecting, exploration or mining of Crown-owned minerals needs to hold a permit granted under the Act.
Crown-owned minerals include all naturally occurring gold and silver, substantial amounts of coal and other metallic and non-metallic minerals, and all petroleum. The Crown Minerals Act 1991 however is only one part of the wider regulatory framework for minerals. While the acquisition of a permit under the Act is necessary, it is not sufficient to commence exploration or mining activities. Environmental approvals and land owner access arrangements are also required.
Tell me more about the Crown Minerals Act 1991?
The Crown Minerals Act 1991, minerals programmes and associated regulations, govern the allocation and management of rights to Crown-owned minerals and the payment of royalties to the Crown for the use of those minerals. While the Act provides the legislative framework, the minerals programmes establish the policies, procedures, and provisions to provide for the efficient allocation of rights to Crown-owned minerals and a fair financial return to the Crown. The regulations provide specific requirements for permit application processes, reporting and notification obligations, and fees payable. Three types of permit may be obtained, allowing for a varying intensity of activities in the search for and extraction of minerals.
In managing rights to Crown-owned minerals the Government is committed to dialogue with local Māori (iwi and hapu), who already enjoy a good relationship with local government, and give the peoples view full consideration.
Please note: the Crown Minerals regime in New Zealand is currently being reviewed and if new legislation is passed it may result in a number of significant changes being made to the way the regime is managed in the future – refer the proposals set out in the ‘Review of the Crown Minerals Act regime’ on the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment I Economic Development website.
Tell me more about the three permits that may be obtained?
Prospecting Permits are issued for the purpose of identifying land likely to contain exploitable minerals and are initially granted for up to two years and may be extended for a further two years. Usually the work undertaken is low impact, such as literature research, geological mapping, rock chip and soil sampling, and aerial surveys.
Exploration Permits are intended for more detailed work. Permits are granted for the purpose of identifying minerals deposits or occurrences and evaluating the feasibility of mining a deposit. Activities include geological, geophysical, and geochemical surveys, drilling, bulk sampling, and mine feasibility studies. An Exploration Permit can be granted for up to five years. A further five year extension may be granted if justified for further exploration purposes, in conjunction with a minimum 50% surrender of permit area. Where a discovery has been made, an appraisal extension may be granted, for all the land comprised in the permit to which the discovery relates, for a period sufficient to enable the permit holder to carry out the appraisal work for the discovery.
Mining Permits are granted to enable extraction of minerals. The nature and extent of the deposit must be clearly established from prior exploration. A Mining Permit can be granted for up to forty years.
What is the ‘Northland 2012 Competitive Tender’ process recently announced?
New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals is inviting companies to take part in a competitive tender for metallic mineral ‘Exploration Permits’ over part of the Northland region. This tender is supported by the data acquired during the aeromagnetic survey undertaken over Northland in 2011.
The tender is open from 13 June to (4.30pm NZST) 7 December 2012. The New Zealand Government is seeking to attract companies that have a demonstrated ability to explore, develop and produce minerals in a safe and environmentally responsible way. Any permits awarded are expected to be announced in April 2013 with the size of any one permit limited to 7,500 hectares.
The Government’s bid evaluation period will run from 10 December 2012 through to 2 April 2012 with the public announcement of Exploration Permit awards expected 8 April 2013. Exploration Permits for metallic minerals are granted for an initial period of up to five years (with a right of renewal for up to another five years). Companies would have to apply for a Mining Permit, should exploration activity be successful and identify commercially viable mineral deposits.
Bids for mineral exploration are sought over an area of onshore land north of Whangarei and southeast of Kaitaia, covering 5,537 km2 – excludes: all land listed as unavailable for mining under Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act 1991; Ninety Mile Beach and Te Rerenga Wairua (Cape Reinga); land now known as Warawara; the Waipoua Forest tract and Trounson Kauri Park Scenic Reserve; and land over which permits already exist (for more detail on the latter, go to ‘Permit Search’ on the NZP&M website.
Why did the Government choose a competitive tender process?
Through the investment of exploration companies it will be possible to identify whether there are commercially viable mineral deposits. The release of the aeromagnetic data is expected to lead to increased exploration interest in Northland. The Government wanted therefore to manage the interest strategically and ensure it gets high quality competing bids to evaluate before awarding permits to explore for minerals.
This is not a financial bidding process. The bids will have to set out how the company proposes to explore the area over the period covered by the permit, including the methods and technologies they propose to use and the timeframe.
New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals uses a competitive tender process for all areas over which permits are relinquished (‘Newly Available Acreage’).
What are the Environmental Consents needed?
Effects of exploration or mining on the environment are regulated through the Resource Management Act 1991. This Act aims to promote sustainable management of natural and physical resources through the assessment of the potential effects of an activity. Regional and district councils administer the Act and grant resource consents for all activities that have an effect on the environment, in accordance with regional and district planning instruments. Mining and exploration activities are treated no differently to other activities that have a similar impact. Resource consents are typically required for activities such as taking or diverting water, or discharging contaminants into water, air or onto the land. Some exploration activities, in particular minimum impact activities, are often predetermined as permitted activities. The use of land for a mining operation (open pit or underground) also requires resource consent approval.
Who looks after Health and Safety matters to do with mineral exploration?
Mining safety is administered by the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment I Labour under the provisions of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992, two mining-specific regulations, and explosives management under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996.The mining regulations are: the Mining Administration Regulations, which prescribe the qualifications required for managing mines and quarries; and the Health and Safety in Employment (Mining – Underground) Regulations 1999, which prescribe standards for record-keeping, notifications, monitoring, and some practice requirements.
What are the processes surrounding access to land?
The granting of a permit under the Crown Minerals Act 1991 does not confer a right of access to any land. Other than for minimum impact activities, access to land for exploration and mining is determined by individual permit holders negotiating directly with affected land owners, including Māori land owners, and occupiers. Access arrangements of more than six months duration are binding on subsequent owners of the land if notated on the land title.
In the case of Crown-owned land, such as public conservation estate, applications for access are assessed and determined by the Minister responsible for that land.
For minimum impact activities, access can be gained to most classes of land by giving the landowner ten days written notice prior to commencing activities. Some exceptions include gaining access to the conservation estate or residential areas, for which the owner’s written consent is required.
To undertake minimum impact activity on Māori land, the permit holder must first make reasonable efforts to consult with the owners of the land (who can be identified by the registrar of the Māori Land Court), and give ten working days’ notice to the local iwi authority of the land to be accessed.
What is the purpose of the Explore Northland Minerals Information Memorandum?
The booklet was published to preview the airborne geophysical survey results and help us all understand the opportunities, and necessary processes, of exploring the commercial potential of Northland’s minerals.
Mineral extraction, and associated support industries, is considered to be a meaningful step-change opportunity to significantly improve the economic well-being across the region and in doing so provide higher-skilled, and paid, employment opportunities.
The Information Memorandum is being used as a marketing tool to catch the attention of the broader mineral extraction community (domestically and internationally), keep all interested and affected parties informed as to the work undertaken to date, and what new data and information is now available and how to access it.
Distribution of the Information Memorandum has included targeted one-on-one marketing to individual companies and as hand-out collateral to accompany presentations at New Zealand, Australian and international conferences and symposiums - PDAC (Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada) International Convention & Trade Show, Toronto, Canada, March 2012; Ministry of Economic Development Investment Conference, Wellington, June 2012; AusIMM (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy) New Zealand Branch Conference, Rotorua, August 2012.
Who do I contact to advance my interest or should I have any further questions?
New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals – manages the New Zealand Government’s oil, gas, minerals and coal resources, known as the Crown Mineral Estate; advises on policy, operational regulation and promotes investment in the minerals estate; Government’s main mineral resource agency with a comprehensive database and drill core and samples library.
The other principal Explore Northland Minerals group and Information Memorandum project partners are:
- Northland Inc – the region’s economic development agency actively assisting companies or individual investors to relocate their businesses to Northland establishing greenfield operations and investing in and working with Northland companies.
- Far North District Council – welcomes investors to the Far North and available to provide practical help and support; offers a business navigation service through Council processes to ensure that information and decisions are made in timely manner; contact Council’s Economic Development Office for assistance.
- Northland Regional Council – one of the region’s primary environmental guardians; aims to protect Northland’s land, water, coast and air while allowing for sustainable development; responsible for promoting the region’s economic, social and cultural wellbeing.
Northland Aquaculture Development Group
How did the Group come about?
The group was established December 2011 through the instigation of the then regional economic development agency, Enterprise Northland (now Northland Inc). The group is made up of representatives of Iwi, oyster and paua farmers, and investment consultants and is supported by NIWA, Cawthron Institute and Northland Inc (the latter acting as the groups’ contact point and secretariat).
Establishing the relationships and partnerships, building trust is a cornerstone of the economic development practitioners’ trade. It is one of the first rules of clustering. Each cluster is different in its form and style. In this case, the initiators concentrated on recruiting those who wanted to make a difference and wanted to move into the space. The existing fishing industry players were initially excluded as the assessment was, that they already had agendas, and for the last decade had not advanced aquaculture in Northland for a variety of reasons. This is not to say that existing players do not have a part to play in the development of the industry, but their involvement and attitude to development and change at this time was perceived for the time as limited.
“The increasing global demand for seafood and ever-reducing wild stocks are well established and documented facts. Northland is ideally placed to develop a significant aquaculture industry to provide high value seafood products to satisfy the growing demand. The Northland Aquaculture Development Group has prepared a bold action based plan that focuses on product and technological innovation to create an environment in which an aquaculture industry can develop and then flourish. The long-term goal is to develop a $300m industry in Northland by 2030, however, the group is committed and focused on the short term to create, and then prove that this target is realistic and achievable.”
(Lee West, Chairman, Northland Aquaculture Development Group, 2011-12).
What is the purpose of the Group?
- To develop an agreed plan of action that represents all key stakeholders’ intent and needs.
- To facilitate the implementation of the agreed plan.
- To collaborate with all stakeholders and provide a coherent and organised industry voice.
- To create an attractive investment opportunity.
- To secure investment into the industry.
- To maximise economic and non-economic benefits for all stakeholders.
- To add value to Northland.
What are the goals of the Group?
- To improve community wellbeing – healthy food, healthy environment, more jobs.
- To focus on innovation in both species choice and technology utilisation.
- To remove barriers and pro-actively develop the Northland opportunity.
- To create an attractive investment opportunity for all interested parties.
- To maintain strategic advantage through research & development and a collaborative approach.
- To improve product on a continual basis.
- To build a $300m Northland industry by 2030.
How does the Group operate?
The group meets on a quarterly basis and concentrates on keeping the strategy momentum and focus with separate operational working groups now formed to develop species specific plans (others formed when the need dictates such). These working groups meet at least monthly:
- Finfish Working Group
- Oyster Working Group
- Greenshell™ Mussel Working Group
- Freshwater Working Group
- Paua Working Group
Each working group reports progress back to the parent NADG with each working group responsible for developing its own action plan, based on a consistent set of terms of reference, that include:
- That the species industry is investment ready with a clear, concise, business case and growth strategy.
- Developing and identifying a targeted strategy for attracting investment to the opportunities.
- The strategy defines a regional approach that builds on the comparative and competitive advantages of the region.
- Identifies priorities and strategies for development and research.
- Identifies and develops skills required to assist ongoing development.
- Contributes to the development of an ‘aquaculture centre of excellence’.
- Ensures that development is in concert with cultural values.
How is each of the Working Groups progressing?
The Working Groups are in different stages of advancement.
- Finfish: ‘greenfields’, established and working to develop their action plan - one species of focus being Seriola Ialandi lalandi, locally known as yellow tailed kingfish.
- Oyster: building on existing established networks.
- Greenshell™ Mussel: yet to be established.
- Freshwater: ‘greenfields’, bringing together players from both inside and outside the region.
- Paua: yet to be established.
Northland Economic Action Group (NEAG)
How did the Group come about?
Two Whole of Northland Economic Summits were held 6 June and 10 July 2012 at Waitangi and Whangarei respectively, convened by the Member of Parliament for Northland, Mike Sabin. The aim of the summits was to provide a platform for regional wide growth across the Northland economy by developing a cohesive, overarching strategy to better enable the region to achieve its true economic potential.
The core focus of the first summit was to ask the various sector groups to identify:
- What they saw as the medium to long term vision and potential for their sector?
- What are the factors that would most assist their sector to achieve that potential?
- What are the major impediments standing in the way of achieving that growth and potential?
The second summit focused on a cross-sector approach bringing these factors into an overarching picture from which a clear action plan could be developed, focussing on delivering outcomes aimed at maximising gains and minimising obstacles.
The key outcomes sought from the summits were: a) to identify the highest priority enablers and constrainers across the main economic sectors; and b) to develop an action plan to respond to these enablers and constrainers.
The rationale for this approach was that when these factors are responded to they will have maximum benefit to the greatest number of sectors – removing common barriers and acting on common enablers.
The second summit also saw the fourteen sector groups select representatives onto the Northland Economic Action Group (NEAG).
What has happened since the two summits?
As a consequence of the meetings held to date the following Terms of Reference for NEAG have been drafted and have been adopted:
- To establish effective communication channels with identified sectors to provide validated independent advice and guidance to Northland Inc that will assist in growing a strong and thriving Northland economy.
- ‘Taitokerau, he whenua rangatira’ - ‘Northland, a region of prosperity and wellbeing’.
- To assist in the development and implementation of a cohesive and overarching economic strategy that will enable Northland to achieve its true economic potential.
Key outputs (tangible and can be measured objectively)
To within 10 years:
- Create 10,000 new sustainable jobs;
- Lift the GDP of Northland by $2.0b; and
- Lift the Northland median weekly household income to at least the New Zealand average.
Key outcomes (typically measured subjectively by approximation)
- To produce an outcome focused economic strategy that has sector and industry relevance by providing advice and guidance to Northland Inc.
- To work closely with Northland Inc to ensure that the strategy is utilised as a working platform in which to seek resources, infrastructure and policy that will assist in the achievement of Northland’s economic potential and as a basis to maximise efficiencies whilst working to achieve commonly shared goals.
- To build on the work done to date by providing collaborative leadership and advocacy for Northland’s economic development moving forward.
- To advise Northland Inc on how to provide a delivery mechanism that will successfully address the identified core themes.
- To develop further the responses to the core themes as a priority.
- To develop a communication strategy that enables information to be conveyed to the sector peers and fed back to the NEAG table.
- To build sector structure and provide leadership including cross sector interaction.
- To continually monitor and evaluate the overarching economic strategy.
Appointment of NEAG Sector Representatives
- There will be one representative per sector with the initial representatives selected at the second Whole of Northland Economic Summit held July 2012.
- Alternates will be permitted if the appointed sector representative cannot attend.
- Where a sector representative changes then the replacement representative will be nominated by the sector group that they will represent. In selecting representatives sector groups are encouraged to utilise individuals that already represent sectors through other Northland working groups and or forums, e.g. Northland Energy Forum, Northland Aquaculture Development Group etc.
- In addition, a sector representative will be able to bring support staff where they have specific expertise or knowledge that will add to the discussion in a particular meeting.
- To ensure that there are no conflicts of interest there needs to be a separation between sector representatives, local government and delivery organisations. Sector representatives should truly reflect the industry sectors; specifically this will exclude staff and directors of local economic development agencies, regional and district council officers and officials. These individuals may be invited to attend meetings as sector support staff; they may not however represent a sector.
- Sector representatives are required to attend meetings. Failure to attend three consecutive meetings will require the appointment of a new sector representative.
The current membership at November 2012 being:
- Agriculture (Land) - James Parsons (proxy: Rawson Wright)
- Aquaculture - Michael Bruce (proxy: Keir Volkering)
- Building & Construction (Infrastructure) - Barry Trass
- Education - Paul Binney (proxy: Andy Britton)
- Energy (Infrastructure) - Vaughan Wykes
- Forestry (Land) - Pita Tipene
- Health - Chris Read (proxy: Peter Oldham)
- Horticulture (Land) - David Kelly (proxy: Lindsay Wells)
- Information Technology (Infrastructure) - John Roy (proxy: Darren Mason)
- Manufacturing - Paul Hebberd
- Maori Development - Stephen Allen (proxy: Waimarie Reihana)
- Marine (Manufacturing) – To be re-appointed (Dennis Maconaghie resigning November 2012)
- Mining & Minerals (Land) - Wayne Brown (proxy: Bronwyn Hunt)
- Tourism - Shane Lloydd
Shane Lloydd, the Tourism sector representative was appointed Chairperson on 8 November 2012 for a twelve month term.
NEAG is supported by Northland Inc personnel: Colin Mitten; David Caselli; Wayne Hutchinson; Brian Roberts.
- A Chairperson will be chosen annually from the members of the NEAG to ensure that meetings are facilitated, focused and effective.
- A secretariat will be provided by Northland Inc to take minutes etc.
- Meetings will be held on an as needed basis but no less than quarterly.
- The Chairperson via the secretariat will coordinate meeting agendas and communicate key issues.
- The respective chairs of the NEAG and Northland Inc will provide the initial interface between the groups.
- There will be no set quorum.
- An annual summit will be convened to report on progress.
Ideally decisions made by NEAG will be by consensus. However, where consensus does not exist then the decision will be put to a vote with each sector represented having one vote. The decision will then be based on a straight majority.
There should be one spokesperson for NEAG, the Chairperson. Any questions from media should be directed to the Chairperson. Sector representatives however are able to speak for their respective sectors.
Northland Energy Forum
How did the Forum come about?
The Northland Energy Forum (NEF) was formed mid-2010 by energy industry players, generators, lines companies and local government interests to enable economic growth through a reliable, sustainable, diverse and economic supply of energy.
Who makes up NEF?
Founding members are:
- EECA I Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority;
- Meridian Energy;
- Refining NZ;
- Top Energy; and
What does the Forum do?
About 40% of New Zealand’s energy is already produced in Northland (most of it at the oil refinery at Marsden Point), but the region also has considerable potential and untapped resources on the broader energy front, including renewable energy resources like wind, tidal, geothermal and bio-energy from crops and forest waste.
Among the challenges facing Northland however is the view by many that Northland is simply a holiday destination as well as a lack of understanding seems to pervade about the value of energy has to the overall local economy.
Energy development is a key plank for growing Northland’s economy and the Forum is keen to work collectively to influence and guide decision makers. The Forum will support specific energy projects provided:
- They add to Northland’s ability to be a net energy exporter and are from renewable source/s.
- Have the capacity to be economically self-sustaining.
- They’re a catalyst for significant change to the region’s economy.
- They build on Northland’s competitive and or natural advantage/s.
Tell me more about the Strategic Plan that has been published?
The group released in January 2012 the Northland Energy Forum Strategic Plan; a blueprint outlining its plans and vision for energy for the region. This is believed to be the first time in New Zealand where private enterprise has led the process for a regional energy strategy; generally the development of such strategies is led by local government.
The Forum’s overarching Vision is to remove barriers to economic growth in Northland and energy is seen as a key enabler to community prosperity; utilising the leveraging of the energy resource as one of the step change industry sectors to facilitate economic growth.
Northland Intersectoral Forum (NIF)
The Northland Intersectoral Forum is comprised of local and central government agencies working in a collaborative way to make a positive difference on the wellbeing of Northlanders.
Who are the member agencies?
- Ministry of Social Development: Work and Income, Family and Community Services, Child Youth and Family, Ministry of Youth Development
- New Zealand Police
- Northland Regional Council
- Far North, Whangarei and Kaipara District Councils
- Te Puni Kokiri
- Housing New Zealand
- Northland Inc
- Northland District Health Board
- Ministry of Education
- Department of Conservation
- Sport Northland
- Accident Compensation Corporation
- Department of Internal Affairs
- Northland PHOs
- Department of Corrections
- Careers NZ
What are NIF’s terms of reference?
NIF’s mission is working together for the wellbeing of Northlanders.
NIF’s purpose is to:
- Build relationships, and share strategic information;
- Plan and make decisions on what to work on together and how; and
- Identify areas for collective action that individual members commit funding, time, people and other resources to.
NIF's values are:
- Put Northlanders first: “We start from an interest in meeting the aspirations and needs of Northlanders, acknowledging and celebrating the diverse cultures, lifestyles and experiences these will reflect.”
- Honour the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi: “We want to work in partnership with the Iwi of Northland.”
- Use all opportunities to advocate for Northland: “We will counter bad press and perceptions of Northland to lift aspirations and raise expectations for the future.”
- Challenge ourselves to do things better and differently: “We will step outside our core business to lead and demonstrate that collective purpose provides greater levels of success.”
- Focus on results that make a difference: “We focus on doing things that will make a positive difference for Northland and Northlanders – now and for the future.”
- Work together with honesty, respect, transparency and fairness: “We are a team. We cooperate, collaborate, and communicate honestly, respectfully, openly and fairly, building enduring relationships with each other and other partners.”
- Be at our tenacious and resilient best: “We set ourselves the highest expectations – of achievement and behaviour – and we are prepared to be tenacious in our pursuit of outcomes for Northland and be resilient in the face of a changing world.”
- “Hold ourselves collectively responsible for achieving positive outcomes, while staying individually accountable for the contributions we make to these outcomes.”
What has been done to date?
Both individually and collectively, NIF has been determined to deliver accessible, coordinated and cost-effective services to the people of Northland. These activities are detailed in their achievement reports, that can be accessed at www.nif.org.nz.
To learn more about NIF and its activities contact:
Northland Tourism Development Group (TDG)
How did the Group come about?
The Northland Tourism Development Group (TDG) was formed in September 2003 under the auspices of the Northland Tourism Strategy 2003 (NTS 2003) to ensure that there is a formal engagement between the industry, Northland’s tourism stakeholders and the then regional tourism organisation, Destination Northland (now Northland Inc).
What does the TDG do?
The TDG has a strategic advisory role for the regional tourism organisation, and acts as a reference group for tourism research needs, planning, infrastructure, major initiatives and sector input on issues which arise from time to time.
Other key responsibilities of the TDG is to monitor progress on the implementation of the recommendations from the current Northland Visitor Strategy 2008-2013 (the reviewed and updated NTS 2003 document) and from time to time extend input into legislative submissions as the representative collective voice of Northland’s tourism industry.
What issues does the current Northland Visitor Strategy address?
- Brand positioning.
- Target markets – higher profile for domestic and Australia.
- Cultural product – ‘living the destination’, experiences, enrichment.
- Seasonality – delivery, employment, investments and infrastructure.
- Capitalise on ‘Northland New Zealand’s First Land’ proposition.
Who makes up the TDG?
There are generally 27 appointed members (all unpaid) representing various sectors such as:
- Maori and cultural tourism associations;
- Northland Inc as the regional tourism organisation;
- Department of Conservation;
- Transport operators;
- Far North, Whangarei and Kaipara District Councils; and
- Nominees to ensure coverage of activities such as major accommodation, major activities, small operators, culture and heritage, whilst also ensuring a representative spread from the tourist areas of Northland.
Waikare Oyster Farmers’ Waste Minimisation Scheme
What are the objectives of the scheme?
- To recover and divert from landfill (recycle) an estimated 270m3 of oyster farm timber waste;
- To recover and divert from landfill (recycle) up to 25,000m3 of waste shell from oyster farms over three years for use in cement, lime, and other potential products.
- To investigate and if viable, look to establish a sustainable commercial operation that will operate to remove shell from the Waikare Inlet and other oyster farm sites after any Waste Minimisation Fund allocation has been expended. Investigations include:
- - the ongoing sale of oyster ‘waste’ product (i.e. shell); and
- - the development of a permanent aquaculture land base/headquarters possibility allowing for processing, retail, education and research.
Why is this happening?
Due to water contamination, the Waikare oyster farmers were forced to close down operations in August 2001. It was not until 2009, when water quality issues had been resolved, that the majority of the farms were re-opened to allow trading.
During the closure many farms were unable to be maintained. The oysters continued to grow and re-produce, which meant shell waste built up, the racks got heavier, the timber gradually rotted and eventually many collapsed. When the farms were re-opened in 2009 the majority were in such a spoiled state they were unable to recommence farming.
Farmers were faced with the need to clean up an estimated 25,000m3 of mud and shell build up and remove waste timber before oyster farming could recommence. It should be noted that a number of farms are now semi-operational.
Who is involved?
‘Project Oyster Shell’ is a joint initiative between central and local government agencies, Northland Inc (the regional economic development agency, who are the facilitators), the Waikare Inlet oyster farmers and other industry groups.
As a consequence Waikare Oyster Waste Recovery Ltd has been set up specifically by the Waikare oyster farmers, for the life of the project, and is the primary contractor for implementing Project Oyster Shell.
What is the cost?
This is a three year project (to be completed by October 2014) and is valued at $4m. The Ministry for the Environment, under its Waste Minimisation Fund, has committed $2.1m. The balance of funding will come from other sources, including investment from the Waikare Inlet oyster farmers.
How will it be done?
A trial is being undertaken in November and December 2012 to test various methods for the shell removal. This includes utilising a large barge and digger, a suction pump on a barge and a work team with hand-held equipment to work on farms that are operational. Once the trial is completed the most effective and efficient method/s will be chosen and all farms will be cleaned by that/those method/s.
Farmers are already removing timber (waste timber needs to be removed before the shell removal). Shells will be cleaned and then removed, from all farms except one, and taken to a land storage area. A 20m x 20m reclamation has been built to allow the clean waste shells to be barged from the farms and off-loaded before being stored and/or processed.
How many farms are involved?
There are 24 farms in the Waikare Inlet, covering ~35 hectares. Of this 22 farms are likely to have worked completed on them.
What are the markets for the waste?
Research is currently being undertaken to look at potential markets for the waste shell. The Department of Conservation is taking any usable timber for fencing-off wetlands in Kauri Trounson Park.
It is known that oyster shell makes excellent grit for chickens and due to its high component of calcium and lime there are other opportunities, such as using it in cement.
What are the benefits of the scheme?
Project Oyster Shell will return the farms to their natural state. Farmers can then rebuild. Recommencement of operations will support the overall expansion of the industry in Northland, with the enterprise potentially providing significant economic benefits to the Northland economy. On-going shell recycling could become a standard part of the farming operations which will increase the economic and environmental benefits and, if applied more widely, could result in oyster farming working towards a zero waste industry.
What are the long term goals?
- To rebuild a thriving oyster industry in the Waikare Inlet previously worth $7m per annum with the opportunity to grow it on to a $30m+ industry;
- To have the Waikare Inlet recognised as an ‘organic’ farming area;
- To create sustainable markets for both the oyster meat and shell - using science to develop ‘added value’ products recycling oyster shells for use in construction industry and medical sector research
- To establish a zero waste industry in Northland e.g. the Department of Conservation is to use recovered spent timber for fencing-off wetlands;
- To develop an aquaculture centre, which may include retail, processing, educational and research facilities as well as other aquaculture products to oysters;
- To build a new barge dock and processing plant in Opua, Bay of Islands;
- To create more jobs – estimated at in excess of 200+; and
- To contributing to a goal of $300m annual aquaculture turnover here in Northland.
Check out updates at www.waikareoysterproject.co.nz