As you’ve probably noticed, BayBuzz has been conducting an online and mail survey on attitudes toward possible councils’ consolidation … sometimes called amalgamation.

At this point, 342 people have responded, with 56% from Hastings (voting residence), 42% from Napier and 2% from CHB.

Jumping right to the bottom line, as respondents understand the issues right now, 85% agree that “some kind of consolidation might be prudent (including 75% of Napier respondents), while 14% think “our present structure is probably the right one.

49% support combining the four territorial councils (Hastings, Napier, CHB & Wairoa) plus the Regional Council, while another 21% support combining just Hastings, Napier and Regional Councils.

73% agree that “While more cooperation would be helpful, that’s not sufficient to deal with the challenges we face.” And only 26% believe “In fact, councils are already cooperating in significant ways.”

The most persuasive reasons for reorganization: providing one vision and voice for the Bay (72% strongly agree), saving ratepayers’ money by reducing duplication (71% strongly agree), and strengthening clout with central government (66% strongly agree).

Chief concerns respondents have about reorganization are: burden some communities with debt of others (49% agree or are not sure), local communities might lose voice/identity (47% agree or not sure), and might cause rate increase (40% agree or nor sure). Note that in each case, majorities do not share these concerns.

The Government is proposing that a simple majority in the entire region could permit reorganizations to occur, as opposed to the present provision where majorities in each affected district must approve (or the reorg fails). Our respondents agree overwhelmingly (69%) with the Government proposal (57% of Napier respondents agree).

The BayBuzz survey was included in the March/April BayBuzz magazine, which is distributed primarily in Hastings and Napier (in fact this edition was ‘over-weighted’ distribution-wise to Napier). We expect that respondents would tend to be individuals who are particularly ‘energized’ — one way or the other — by the potential of reorganization. But effectively the surveys were random — anyone could have picked up a copy from our ‘take one’ stands throughout the area and responded.

Overall, the results indicate that a significant base of support for reorganization exists in both the Hastings District and Napier.

Tom Belford

P.S. You can view the complete results here (for online returns) and here (for mail returns). Unfortunately the mail responses need to be manually entered separately, so the consolidated results must be calculated by merging the two.

Join the Conversation


  1. What a load of bollocks Tom. 0.002% of the population completing a totally unscientific survey, not available to the majority, with loaded questions, hardly backs your claim of a "significant base of support for reorganization".

    I've spoken to well over 350 people in Napier alone who don't want consolidation. Does this mean I can claim that there is 'a significant base of support for retaining current governance arrangements'?

  2. I have no doubt there are "well over" 350 people in Napier alone who don't want consolidation. Might even be 500-600.

    You've already lost one election riding this paranoia, Stuart. Might pay to keep your powder dry on this one. Learn from your mistakes!

  3. Tom, if I believed amalgamation was right for Napier, i would back it; but i don't believe this, because it isn't. International case studies prove that amalgamation very rarely delivers on the promised benefits. Besides, no one has provided me (or the people of the Bay) with a list of quantifiable benefits.

    Dismissing people's concerns as paranoia is hardly likely to win around skeptics. But this is the problem with the vocal minority within the Better HB crowd; they dismiss people who disagree with them, often on very rationale grounds, as ignorant. Fatal mistake. Disrespect those who disagree at your own peril.

  4. Stuart is clearly living in a parrallel universe. He appears to have dismised the recent evidence from the successful Auckland amalgamation process.In the first year alone there was a saving to ratepayers of $140 million and a reduction in staffing levels of 2,000. This resulted in a rate increase less than previously budgeted for by the pre-amalgamated councils that now make up the super city.I relise Stuart has a very limited experience [ if any] in the real world of operating a small buisness. If he did he would know that having one elected local government representative for every 2,500 residents is a joke and nothing more than a local government WINZ scheme for which we all must pay into. If Stuart was around 20 years ago I bet he would be preaching the same sermon to the residents of Waipawa, Taradale and Havelock North for the retention of 8 councils to service our stagnent population of 160,000 and ''enjoying'' the lowest performance statistics in the country. Having said that we desperatly need new blood in the NCC and I for one would support his candidacy in the 2013 elections.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.