BayBuzz has confirmed that Napier mayor Bill Dalton will make a blockbuster double announcement on Friday.

First, we have learned that the Napier City Council will withdraw the controversial $43,000 anti-amalgamation report prepared by Australian Professor Brian Dollery, whose opinion was based on no firsthand interviewing in or understanding of Hawke’s Bay.

Reached at the Gin Trap, Mayor Dalton remarked, “It became untenable to argue the report was not a joke when Professor Dollery confessed he based his work on a visit to Hawke’s Bay Newfoundland in Canada. However, I want to reassure Napier ratepayers that council will not be reimbursing the professor’s travel or winter wardrobe expenses.”

Mayor Dalton was eager to shift his exclusive BayBuzz interview to a brighter note, making a second announcement.

“I am pleased to confirm that conservative politician Colin Craig has been commissioned by the Napier Council to provide a substitute anti-amalgamation report. Colin is no ordinary politician. He has a solid track record of asking the tough questions, challenging conventional wisdom.”  Mayor Dalton offered these examples of Mr Craig’s independent thinking …

He’s unconvinced that man has walked on the moon.

He believes global warming is a hoax contrived by air conditioning manufacturers.

He suggests that Israel masterminded the attack on the New York Trade Towers.

He’s convinced a palace imposter is masking the death 16 years ago of Queen Elizabeth II.

He’s a skeptic on the theory of evolution, offering himself as a case in point.

“I could go on,” Mayor Dalton noted, “All this is evidence of a wide open mind. Truly we have found a man with searching intellect to warn the people of Napier about the scourge of reorganisation.”

Reached for a comment, Mr Craig said: “I told Mayor Dolton [sic] that I could do this study in my sleep and the mayor replied, ‘That’s plenty good for the Napier Council … we have a deal.”

Asked if he would actually visit Hawke’s Bay as part of his study, Mr Craig replied, “I dunno. That might compromise my objectivity. Besides, I hear it’s pretty damn cold there in January.”

Tom Belford

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10 Comments

  1. I understand that this is meant to be a ” puff piece” but i object to the constant mockery of Colin Craig based on media distortions of what he actually said in the sound bite at the time…all Colin Craig is guilty of is answering idiot questions honestly as in ” did he think man walked on the moon” to which he replied that ” he didn’t know for sure”…

    I also don’t know for sure myself but I assume it happened….and so it goes.
    There’s every likelihood that Craig will blow NZ First out of the water and become the coalition partner that will get National over the line next year.

    It’s only the banal media of Auckland, yes Auckland, that like to mock this self made man who has over 2 billion dollars of property under his belt and fully funds his party…..so what if he’s a Christian…go to the naughty room , Clr Belford..!!

  2. if amalgamation is so popular in Napier then why did no pro-amalgamation candidate win in the recent Napier local body elections ?? oh thats right…none stood …because they would have got a pasting…Bill Dalton got my vote when you reported that he would not bother to make statements to Bay Buzz …hurrah !! a politician not afraid of the media !!

  3. Amalgamation of our five H.B Councils as suggested by “The big Boys) A “hard case letter” in Saturday Dec 7th H.B Today by David Gore ” Big not always best”
    An amalgamation question so far avoided by both Bill and Lawrence ,”Will amalgamation of Napier and Hastings support the concerns of Dr Russell Wills, pediatrician and Children’s Commissioner “Shameful secret of our poor kids” ?
    Norway, from long experience suggests, “Amalgamation leaves too many people behind – I agree.

  4. Tom, a fitting “news” item.
    It is topical that you mention Canada. There in their largest city the Toronto Star now refers to their number one citizen as the bullying, bluffing and bellicose Billy Bunter.
    Not only content with drug taking he now professes to be an expert in both gin and shagging !
    Surely, that could not happen in sleepy old Napier–could it?

  5. Ha, John. Very good. Your family and “friend(s)” must be very proud of your current contribution to civic debate.

  6. It may be a disappointment to you, but the population of Napier and environs don’t want to be amalgamated with anyone. NCC is one of the few local bodies in NZ with little or no debt, thanks to prudent management of successive councils since the late 1930’s. On the simple “if it ain’t broke it don’t need fixin'” principle, Napier has no common interest with other HB Local Bodies that is so pressing as to make amalgamation attractive. Things that do need to be done together or are better done as joint ventures are being done. Hastings for better or worse has significant debt, which is being questioned by ratepayers and some councilors, and as in other areas, will become more of a public flogging. While amalgamation will be attractive to Hastings ratepayers, they heve to get themselves out of quarantine and that may be some time off. Wairoa and CHB will benefit from a union that approaches critical mass, but I will bet they are in no hurry for civil union. Make no mistake Napier elected a Mayor who is clearly against Amalgamation but not against joint projects where the numbers stack up. He has a clear mandate and will do a good job. As a one trick pony, clever with words, who has made it to the Regional Council ‘on the river’ you nevertheless are expected to behave responsibly, and as you will find, we don’t suffer fools around these parts. Robert Jeffares

  7. Tom, you may well turn out to be correct.
    At yesterday’s NCC council meeting, the Mayor, in an act of hubris, ensured his compliant councillors rubber- stamped approval for yet a third report on the amalgamation issue.
    Not content with the regions ratepayers forking out $100,000 for the Winder report, Napier ratepayers subsequently paid a further $43,300 for the disastrous Dollery report which all other councils rejected. Now, an unnamed “consultant”, possibly Colin Craig, has been given carte blanche to produce a third report, this time specifically opposing amalgamation.
    Tellingly, not a single councillor questioned the “blank cheque” provided. Forgetting their sworn fiduciary duty, there was no discussion as to the quantum of fees to be paid, budget, timing, nor the Terms of Reference for this futile and expensive exercise.
    In doing so they have totally disregarded the advice of the Chair of the LGC who emphasised that submissions should be aimed at modifying or enhancing the draft proposal, not simply rejecting it , as it would be of no value.
    So, I guess NCC ratepayers can kiss goodbye to another $10,000–$100,000 to bolster the mayoral bluff, bluster and bullying.
    The mayor has repeated ad infinitum that “amalgamations do not work”.
    If he had bothered to read his dud Dollery report he would have noted on page 76 that in 1946 N.Z. had 692 rating authorities. As a result of both forced and voted amalgamations since that time we are now reduced to 87.
    Despite most being forced by central government Mayor Dalton cannot name one single instance of a failure, nor a single wish to de-amalgamate.
    So here is a challenge to the mayor.
    Of the 605 successfully amalgamated, name 1% which have proved a failure.
    If he can, by way of a supporting and fulsome letter explaining why their authority should de-amalgamate from the Mayor of the newly formed relevant authority, then I will be happy to donate $10,000 to the NCC. If he is unable to provide letters , as detailed from 6 mayors of the amalgamated authority then he can donate $1,000 to ABHB.
    This would be a “win win” for the stressed out NCC ratepayers as the mayor could do his own research, become educated in the process and keep him out of trouble over the holiday break.
    Perhaps he could start in the Bay, asking himself if it would be in everybody’s interest to de-amalgamate Napier from Taradale or Waipawa from Waipukurau.
    For 3 years the mayor has bombarded the press as to the disastrous FORCED amalgamation of all shires in the state of Queensland. After 6 years the Queensland Electoral Commission has confirmed that fully 98% are delighted with the improved services, reduced rate increases and the elimination of parochialism for the benefit of all.
    Some failure, Mayor Dalton !
    Unlike Queensland we will enjoy a democratic vote after full consultation and a extensive submission process.
    That however was only one feature of the 3 o’clock follies.
    What could of trumped it was the earlier disclosure of the media shy family who reside on Lighthouse Road and have purportedly offered $100,000 to fight any form of amalgamation in H.B.
    More to follow……

  8. Tom, a kind soul has pointed out that there should be a time limit on this bet–and I agree.
    As our learned mayor has claimed for years that amalgamations do not work, I would assume that he already has the facts to grab my $10,000.
    On the assumption that he would never make such outrageous presumptions without having the facts at hand, I believe a date of 31/01/14 would prove sufficient for his proof to be provided.
    I trust he agrees to this date in producing the required evidence.

  9. And there are No prizes for guessing the reasons, why The Napier City Council has hired a “resident” Spin Doctor! At up to, maybe more than $75k per year. At least Mayor Barbara managed the job herself!

  10. One can only hope that Mayor Dalton has pledged to no longer be sloppy with the truth in 2014. I attended, along with other ABHB members, the last NCC meeting for 2013. We were there to hear the debate on the mayoral report and the need for further “experts” to assist the council with the amalgamation facts so as to assist in their submission to the LGC.

    Forgetting, totally their need to not predetermine an issue, he stated that it would certainly be anti-amalgamation. This was backed up by his statement in his written report on the subject “We are hearing more and more about the failures of amalgamation, both nationally and internationally.”
    Not an iota of evidence was provided for this jaw-dropping statement, nor did a single councillor question this outrageous dictate.

    To his credit, the mayor has thoroughly institutionalised his council in record time. They are clearly barred from questioning his arrogant nonsense, and to accept everything he states as gospel.

    As we know, for 4 years the mayor has been ranting about failed amalgamations but never being able to supply examples. His two targets–without proof which a 5 year old could accept–have been Auckland and Queensland.

    If the gullible councillors had powered up their ratepayer-supplied iPads they would have noted the latest FACTS as supplied by the LGC.

    Since the move to a single rates system {do they know what that means?} in Auckland, 122,000 ratepayers had increases BUT 220,000 had decreases. The increases were capped at 10% during the transition to the new system but decreases were not, enabling some property owners to enjoy reductions of between 30-40%.

    Rates increases have reduced from an average of 5.7% when the 8 councils were in existence to a record low of 2.9% for the current financial year.

    Under the previous legacy councils there were a total of 9,430 FTEs. This has dropped by 1,350 to 8074 FTE staff. At the same time it has also shifted from using contractors to making greater use of in-house staff.

    So, Mr Mayor, how could anyone see this as a failure ?

    Remember how we have been subjected to the on-going mantra from our mayor that the FORCED amalgamations of all Queensland shires “ripped the state apart”? Pathetically, his councillors believed him. He said it, so it must be true.

    What wimps. Again, if they bothered to access their iPads they would know that it was a stunning success. Although FORCED in 2008, only 2% have voted to de-amalgamate by 2014. The reason being that rate increases are lower than under the legacy shires while the LGAQ report that three times as many felt that performance had improved than those who said it was worse.

    Unlike the negative whining mayor, 98% of the state are very, very happy with the state-wide amalgamation even though there was no consultation, submissions or a vote on the proposal.
    Meanwhile, here in NZ we have had over 600 successful amalgamations over the last few decades. Most were forced on the communities by central government; only a few were voted on, as will be the case in the Bay.

    So time is ticking Mr mayor–where are the 6 examples you were asked to provide.
    Maybe they are not there–because they never were.

    Meanwhile, the existing councillors will have to answer to the ratepayers in 15 months time when we have our first region-wide election for a new council. In the meantime your performance–or lack of it–is being well and truly noted.

    Finally, I understand that the couple touted by the mayor as being prepared to provide $100,000 to the upcoming anti-amalgamation campaign have decided to withdraw their generous offer due to innumerable mayoral misrepresentations.

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