On Wednesday, the Regional Council completed its consideration and adoption of a proposal to study Hawke’s Bay’s socioeconomic and governance future.

A few words were added and tinkered with, improving the resolution agreed to provisionally last week.

As now endorsed by the Regional Council unanimously, the bottomline is this …

1. The study will be holistic — it will look at socioeconomic conditions and drivers as well as local governance structure and processes that might affect the region’s ability to perform better in the future … all in a context of environmental sustainability.

2. The study will be independent — to give its findings credibility, it will be supervised by an individual or entity who stands apart from the Regional Council or any participating council.

3. The study will be inclusive — all five of the region’s councils will be invited to participate, including financially and in shaping the more detailed brief that will guide the investigation. Moreover, the community will be involved in the process as well, and this could include a private sector financial contribution to the project.

While the final resolution as adopted embraces each of these points, it does not go into detail on each of them. However, the Regional Council discussion made crystal clear that these were the expectations of the Councillors.

As it stands, this is simply the chosen path of the Regional Council. HBRC Chair Fenton Wilson has been tasked with inviting each of the region’s other four councils to participate according to these terms. Based upon back-stage conversations, it appears, unofficially, that this approach is acceptable to the Hastings, CHB and Wairoa Councils. Napier has yet to consider this formulation, given that reviewing ‘local government structure’ is included in the proposal.

Hopefully each of these councils will now quickly receive their invitations to participate, and signal their official agreement, so the work of preparing the brief and recruiting an independent study leader can begin.

Tom Belford

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  1. Oh well – here we go again. Just another lot of hot air at ratepayers expense, just another round of nice M/Teas, A/Teas and lunches. Another round of decisions to be made by people many of whom haven't any idea of what it is like for the people in HB living in poverty, or of their community problems. High flying business people are promoting bringing more skilled people into HB and more technology based enterprise. These ideas do nothing to solve the real issues. They do not get the needy working. They raise the cost of living for those who can least afford it. They require more of our precious land to be built on, more demands on already scarce water etc.. They breed a rich class and a poor class. This is the first precursor to crime and anti social behavior. The roots for our poverty begin at the birth of a child. A child born to mothers too young, mothers with no work or self management skills and mothers having regular casual relationships and one offs, often under the influence of substances. These children are often abused from the beginning, are not feed nutritious food, do not have sufficient clothing or hygiene habits. They become under achievers and do not develop appropriate social consciences and fall into criminal groups at an early age. These children roam the streets at all hours of the day and night. The people who know what is needed are the ones who live in these communities. These are the people who should be involved in finding the solutions. These are the people who need real jobs and up skilling.

  2. I would normally agree too Diane, but the motivation behind this is more than just economic for a change, and the accountability is now to the wider community – and that is a significant difference to the other waste of space reports we've all seen too much of.

    The about-turn by the councils (while oh so predictable) has a lot to do with the public pressure from the regional study campaign underway. As a community worker I encourage others in the community sector, as well as those we work with everyday, to add their names and their expectations to the pile, so it is truly representative of our whole community and cannot just be passed off as a token gesture to appease the business or local government sectors. The community sector's voice is one of the most vital and needs to be heard.

    I was pleased to attend a recent event hosted by the HR Institute and Chamber of Commerce and a common theme was apprenticeships, internships and the transfer of knowledge and skills. We in the community sector have to be present at these discussions to ensure social as well as economic sustainability are at the forefront of any regional development plans.

    Businesses may have their own priorities, but they are just as much a part of our communities as we are.

    At the end of the day creating jobs and a sense of purpose needs our communities and businesses to work together, and local and central government to aid, rather than hinder the process. Progress and action happens in that order, not the other way round, and this entire drawn out saga highlights that very clearly.

    Bring your very worthwhile voice to the conversation, because for the first time, I think we might actually be getting somewhere.

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