That’s the image used by Councillor Tim Gilbertson to mock the Regional Council’s proposal to defend itself from newly enacted legislation that will facilitate local government re-structuring.

The Council’s sturdy defense, adopted by 5-3 vote (with Councillors Gilbertson, Kirton and McGregor against) will consist of a letter from Chairman Wilson to the Local Government Minister and the Local Government Commission (I can hear their knees knocking), warning that HBRC’s ability to perform its statutory tasks — like keeping rivers clean — will be compromised if the Council is distracted by reorganisation proposals.

Equipping local government in Hawke’s Bay to face the future is such a darn nuisance to the Regional Council!

But wait, it’s even worse than a distraction.

Councillor Dick lamented that reorganisation will result in an urbanite takeover of local government in the Bay. Those with greater concern for the ‘built environment’ would overtake those concerned with our ‘natural environment’. I think he was suggesting that the Regional Council is our champion of the natural environment … a stretch of the evidence, I’d argue!

Councillor Kirton saw Dick’s conjuring up of “three-headed monsters” as rather hysterical. Both he and Councillor Gilbertson urged supporters of reorganisation, mentioning A Better Hawke’s Bay, to simply “get on with it” and make application as soon as possible to the Local Government Commission for consolidation of our councils.

A Better Hawke’s Bay (ABHB) clearly intends to oblige, as ABHB chair Rebecca Turner commented to media:

“A Better Hawke’s Bay is delighted that the reorganisation legislation will be enacted by Parliament before Christmas. And we intend to submit a reorganisation proposal as quickly as possible after enactment. Reorganisation designed to equip Hawke’s Bay to better chart a prosperous future course will happen, we need to work together to get it right and to ensure that we achieve the best outcome and not allow wrongfully perceived conflicts to protect the status quo.”

For its part, the Regional Council, determined to remain behind the curve, doesn’t plan to take up reorganisation again until a public excluded workshop next January 31st.

Meantime Wellington, prepare yourself for Chairman Wilson’s fusillade!

Tom Belford

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  1. Tom, what a desperate bunch they are to retain the status quo.
    The dam project is a clear case of socialist farming. The diminishing number of farmer supporters will enjoy the profits–if any, whilst the long suffering ratepayers will shoulder all the risks and ensuing losses.
    How is that a positive for the province ?
    If these latter day Warren Buffet’s had any experience in the real world they would be investing in more appropriate projects to counter our record unemployment, unheard of drop in tourism numbers, lack of jobs and opportunities and a record decrease in retail sales.
    I note with interest the valid comment from Cr Kirton of Cr Dick’s hysterical comments.

  2. My interpretation of the LGA amendments; stripping Councils back to core services, and promoting amalgamation seems a double blow to HBRC.

    Amalgamation seems inevitable, and The Dam can’t be considered core business.

    Yule was on the radio this morning voicing his concern about High Court action to injunct Councils over-stepping their core services role, and he mentioned water storage.

    Interesting that National support of the HBRC dam but pass legislation that could scuttle the project.

  3. Good grief what’s gone wrong with the world. I find myself agreeing with one of John Harrison’s comments. Socialist farming, a great description of the dam consequences. Thanks JJH.
    However I disagree with Tom & JJH that almalgamation into a unitory authority is the answer. I have concerns that the less articulate in society will be disdvantaged if we move away from more localised representation. Consider the discussions held by HBDC about the Flaxmere Ward. I agree that thier needs to be more co-operation between councils and this is what we should strive towards.
    If ABHB wishes to see a more Hawkes Bay centric outlook until we deal with parochialism between our communities (including business communities) thier is no point hoisting amalgamation upon us.

  4. If the Regional Council is worried about “being distracted” by “unnecessary tasks” such as amalgamation they should first look at the current unnecessary tasks they’re meddling in.

    At what point in any statute is the regional council’s role to become a developer and build a humongous dam (and the consequential effects that come along with that)? Nowhere.

    However, environmental management and representing community consultation outcomes are. Perhaps they should stick to their knitting.

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