McDonald’s plan for a Havelock North outlet was approved by Council staff on Friday.

Here’s the HDC announcement:

The Hastings District Council has given the go ahead for a new McDonald’s restaurant in Havelock North.

Council has completed its consideration of the consent application and it meets the criteria to proceed, without requirement for public notification.

Strategic Projects Manager Ian Macdonald says “our decision has been peer reviewed by two independent parties, to ensure the integrity of the decision”.

“When assessing projects of this nature, Council is required to work within the legal framework set down in the District plan and Resource Management Act. The consent process requires a series of legal tests to be met and we cannot simply notify, if there is no sound legal basis to do so, Mr Macdonald said.

“The site is in an industrial zone and we have worked very hard to ensure the best possible outcome for Havelock North”.

Mr Macdonald says “The designers have gone the extra mile to ensure the building is aesthetically pleasing and fits into the surrounding environment”.

As the result of a review by an independent traffic consultant a number of minor changes will be made to the roads around the restaurant, to aid flow into and out of the parking area. This includes a slip lane which will ensure that public safety is paramount.

Trees are to be planted and landscaping undertaken around the perimeter of the site, landscaping strips will be created along three of the boundaries and planting in the carpark area will create a look that is in keeping with the style of Havelock North.

“The development will positively contribute to the streetscape along Karanema Drive and Havelock Road” says Mr Macdonald.

“While the building will be visible on entering Havelock North, it is considered that, compared to an industrial building that could have been built on the site, the proposed building will better compliment the surrounding area and wider landscape”.

The announcement takes pains to say the staff/Council had no discretion to require public consultation on the matter. Let’s take that in good faith, at least from a purely legal standpoint.

Nevertheless, having no consultation with the public whatsoever — even informally — is a political blunder and a stick in the eye to the many residents of Havelock North who were concerned about this development.

BayBuzz has had a survey online on this issue for months, although we haven’t promoted it recently. Over 300 individuals responded and of these, 34% were totally, philosophically opposed to having a McD’s in Havelock North. It offends their value set. Fifty percent accepted that McD’s couldn’t be singled out and discriminated against (as against other food outlets offering better, same or worse nutritional and other value), but wanted some input over the location, design, traffic, hours of operation and other issues.

And this opportunity for input is what HDC has failed to provide. Arguably, they could have even harnessed citizen interest in this matter to educate the public about broader issues and plans regarding future development of the village that have been sitting on the back-shelf for months.

But no. The bureaucrats prevailed … and their orientation is to minimise the fuss. The politicians failed the residents of Havelock North on this one.

And I say this as a consumer who has been known to order a double-cheeseburger or two! Hey, I’m from America after all.

Tom Belford

P.S. By the way, you cost-benefit analysts might be interested in these stats on the ‘contribution’ McD’s makes to the New Zealand economy (from fact sheet submitted with consent application):

In 2010 McDonald’s New Zealand sourced the following from New Zealand suppliers, spending more than $150 million:

  • 5.58 million kg of beef
  • 2.3 million kg of chicken
  • 1.4 million kg of lettuce for processing
  • 230,000 kg of tomatoes
  • 85 million buns, rolls, bagels and muffins
  • 4.6 million litres of milk
  • 15.6 million kg of potatoes for processing
  • 1.2 million kg of cheese
  • 10.8 million eggs
  • 300,000kg of Hoki

Additionally, New Zealand producers exported more than $244 million worth of food to McDonald’s restaurants around the world in 2010, including the following:

  • 6.7 million kg of cheese to 25 other McDonald’s markets (Australia, Asia, South Africa, Middle East and South America)
  • 42 million kg of French fries to South East Asia and Australia
  • 28 million kg of New Zealand beef (mostly to North America)

Join the Conversation


  1. This was always going to happen… but what the jolly li'l Councillors fail to understand is the target market of McDonalds ,generally speaking, embraces a culture that doesn't give a tuppeny damn about litter after they've munched through their takeaway burgers and shakes.

    Try going up to the lookout at Bluff Hill sometime and count the Macca's shakes and containers lying around the place…give it a few weeks after opening and have a trawl up Te Mata Peak or the Cemetery park up the top of Lucknow Rd.

    So burghers of Havelock North..thanks for the burgers….and the new aesthetic addition to the Villagio..can't stop progress, eh !

  2. I am new here, but it appears the HDC is becoming abit arrogant "we know best" or "you can't stop progress", and bugger the common "burgers" in the progress. If I was Napier, I would steer clear of any Yule proposed amalgamation – don't be tarnished by them. It is a pity we have not got better local government leadership in Hastings, the councillors just seem to follow the mayor like the pied piper…and over the cliff they go…

  3. Tom a quick question. What would be the purpose of any consultation if the council had no legal basis on which to implement the recommendations? That would be a farse.

    I've no doubt the council would have loved to turn the proposal down, it certainly have been easier than listening to your rhetoric and hyperbole. But if they had done so they would be subject to litigation (that they would lose) which would be at huge cost to ratepayers. That would be sensible wouldn't it.

  4. Excellent! So McDonald's argues in its calculation of economic contribution that we kiwis wouldn't eat beef/chicken/lettuce etc if it weren't for them … and neither would we export food without them?!

  5. To Mike Williams:

    The concept is simple: don't offend in style when you can offend in substance.

    I noted in my post the "bigger picture" value of using this discontent to focus residents on broader issues of HN development. If nothing else, residents might discover that a re-write of the Hastings District Plan was underway, and they might be educated as to what sort of future protections or standards or conditions they might like to advocate during that re-write.

    So far Mike, it's pretty clear from your comments on a wide variety of Baybuzz articles that you regard the Hastings Council as incapable of ANY sort of mismanagement. I talk to Mayor Yule a fair amount … even he wouldn't make that claim.

    Nevertheless, I invite you to sit down with me for a coffee … clearly you have insights into the workings of Hastings Council that I could apparently benefit hugely from. Help me overcome my cluelessness. My shout.


  6. Tom, far from it. I think that like most large organisations, our local Councils can be dumber than a sack of hammers. I'll be there to criticise when they make stupid mistakes, though as a NCC ratepayer I probably have less inclination when it comes to Hastings because I don't have any "skin in the game". I merely think there should be balance when looking at issues, and my view is your reporting fundamentally lacks any balance whatsoever. I don't for a moment begrudge your right to criticise, but I do question if you'd ever be happy with an outcome that wasn't what you alone had prescribed.

    For someone who lables themselves an "agitator" you seem to get a wee bit agitated when people disagree with your coloured point of view. Coffee sounds great, perhaps we could do it at the new McCafe in Havelock.

  7. This was an interesting decision by the HDC planners.

    For the record I'm not against McDonald's at all. But given it's location on the main entry roundabout I was surprised as hell to see how this could not be notified. (By the way – close to 20,000 cars go around there every day.)

    Does anyone know how this position and design will impact on traffic flow? Will traffic ever be backed up to the Strawberry patch or Havelock Fire Station? Could this effect emergency services if a drive thru blocks traffic? Will we have to give way to the left or right? Will there be a roading upgrade? Who will pay?

    Surely such important points as these could have benefited with public consideration.

    …..Brave HDC! Very Brave!

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