The gloves are off in debate over the future governance of Northland, with the Far North District Council about to announce a plan to get rid of the Northland Regional Council and divvy up north governance between itself and the Whangarei District Council.
The FNDC is due to announce the plan today.
Far North mayor Wayne Brown has also described a new Northland Regional Council representation plan as "an attempt to impose a supercity-type structure with a single, Northland-wide council", while the Whangarei District Council yesterday approved a strong submission against the representation plan, opting for the existing system.
Northland Regional Council representation is currently based on the three district council areas (Whangarei, Kaipara and Far North).
The new system was developed as a result of the mandatory five-yearly review of representation to ensure fair representation. This would see council representatives chosen from seven Northland areas of similar population levels, with communities of interest grouped as much as possible, the aim being to create fairer representation around the council table.
The Whangarei Urban and Coastal North constituencies would elect two members, which will bring NRC membership to nine, one more than at present.
The NRC signed off on its new plan this month, after amending some aspects of the plan following public submissions heard through October. The amended plan is now open for final submissions.
Meanwhile, the Far North District Council is expected to vote on its own plan for reorganising local government in Northland at a council meeting in Kerikeri today.
If the plan is endorsed by councillors, the council will apply to the Local Government Commission for unitary authority status as soon as the Local Government Act Amendment Bill 2012 becomes law.
In a nutshell, the Far North District Council proposal would see the Northland Regional Council abolished and the region turned into two unitary authorities, one following the Far North's current boundaries and the other combining Whangarei with all or part of the Kaipara District.
The Far North proposal, which has iwi backing, includes three seats set aside for Maori, one elected by each of the existing wards.
Mayor Wayne Brown's argument is that reform of local government in Northland is inevitable, partly as a result of the debacle in Kaipara, and it is better to come up with a home-grown proposal than wait for the Government to impose what it thinks is best.
The regional council, however, maintains its proposal is simply an attempt to respond to complaints that it is too Whangarei-centric by increasing representation for Far North ratepayers.