New Zealand is divided into sixteen regions for devolved local government. Eleven are administered by councils, and five are administered by unitary authorities. The Chatham Islands Council is similar to an authority, authorised under its own legislation. The regional councils are listed in Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Local Government Act 2002, the Act requires regional councils to promote sustainable development – the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of their communities. The current regions and most of their councils came into being through a government reform in 1989 that took place under the Local Government Act 1974. In addition they took over roles that had previously been performed by county councils. Auckland Regional Council, formed in 1989, was replaced by Auckland Council, 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, property rates are used to fund both regional and territorial government activities. There is often a 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, notes, These regions have unitary authorities. The Gisborne Region is still widely but unofficially known by its name 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. 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, 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 within the region. 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
Image: Regions of NZ Numbered
Map of regions (coloured) with territorial authorities delineated by black lines. City names are in all upper case, and district names have initial capitals.