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.