Voting papers returned as of 4:52 Monday the 27th:

  • Hastings District: 18.57% (ranging from 15.02% in Flaxmere to 21.89% in Havelock North)
  • Napier: 17.52%
  • Central Hawke’s Bay: 24.44%

More detail here.

Havelock, your Big Mac is ready

The Yule regime, which isn’t shy about announcing pre-election good news — like long-awaited urban parks suddenly appearing — has a different approach to contentious news. They bury it.

Case in point: McDonald’s coming to Havelock North.

About one month ago, a non-council source pointed me to an HDC staffer and suggested I ask this individual about the status of McDonald’s proposal for Havelock village, telling me that discussions were “advanced” between McD’s and HDC.

So I sent this inquiry to HDC: “I’m told that discussions are ‘advanced’ between HDC and McDonald’s re their proposed locating in Havelock. Can you chat with me re the status of this?”

The next day I received this reply from HDC’s media person: “Just letting you know that the status on Havelock North McDonalds is that there hasn’t been an application lodged yet.”

Note that this is NOT a denial that discussions are in fact advanced. Indeed, I’m told that at least two detailed plans have been tabled by McDonald’s in recent months, with different building siting and access points. Neither has been shared with the public.

And the way things are progressing, it appears that the Council intends to delegate the McD’s siting decision to staff, to be made on a non-notified basis.

So why has this issue disappeared off the radar, with HDC implying nothing is going on?

Because any approval is sure to be controversial. And incumbent Mayors and Councillors especially don’t like controversy during the election window.

Two questions out of this for Hastings mayoral and Council candidates:

1) Do you believe residents of Havelock North should be consulted before any approvals are given to any plans submitted by McDonald’s?

2) What is your opinion of this customary modus operandi on the part of HDC — that is, deal with the matter behind closed doors, exclude public participation, then give misleading information about the status of what’s going on? In other words, are you for business as usual at HDC, or do you actually stand for something different … like transparency and timely public consultation?

Look forward to your responses.

Tom Belford

Join the Conversation


  1. Totally to form in Yule’s ‘smoke & mirrors’ administration.

    Remember Sam Kelt’s $1m donation to the Sports Park announced the same week referendum papers were delivered with Yule praising the gift.

    At least one candidate, Adele Mohi-McGoverin, has pledged to insist on public participation on McDonalds

  2. This is looking like a repeat of the apartments saga in Lindsay St & Napier Road 3 years ago when the HDC issued a non notifiable consent. and refused to back track. The Havelock North Citizens Association obtained a judicial review and the decision was overturned but not before it cost members and the council ten of thousands of dollars.

    Is the Mayor using his delegated Authority to push the decision through out of sight of the wider community?

  3. Electionering aside…..What on Earth has confidential business between any business, in this case Macca’s and the HDC, got to do with anyone other than those two identities??
    Surely in this democratic country, anyone has the right to discuss business with the local council, to clarify rules and compliance and ulimately apply to proceed, without that confidence being compromised in any way. surely!!


  4. Simon Nixon, one of the reasons I voted for you was because you haven’t demonstrated any comradeship with the ill-informed baybuzz ‘stirrers’ in our community who constantly seek to use childish anti-Yule slagging tactics to further their own positions. While I have admired Lawrence Yule’s leadership over the years, I agree it is time for a change. Please don’t disappoint me and the other voters who are placing their confidence in you by engaging with Tom Belford and his bunch of cronies who in the main have not moved on from past relationships with the council that have soured for one reason or another. You have no reason to stoop to their level, so don’t. Best of luck and should both you and Lawrence end up on the council next term I’d encourage you to learn from him and work with him as constructively as possible to further our community. You both have a lot to offer.

  5. As a Havelock North candidate, I Am intrigued to get your article on MacDonald’s.
    I have done some homework on the issue which is a concern for a number of my constituency.
    I understand from these most reliable sources,that:

    1.Neither Application to Build nor Resource Consent has Been applied for by the property owners.
    2.Discussions however have been held between the Property Owners and Council as to design, style of building, and signage.
    3.Also discussed has been accessibility to the site.
    4. From information from my very reliable sources,
    (i) Building style proposed, is Low single story Riverstone construction .
    (ii) Building Height as mentioned to be Single story and not to interfere with the view of TeMata peak.
    (iii) Property to be very tidily landscaped.(will be the Smartest building and site on the West side of the Village).
    (iv) Signage to be kept to a minimum both in size and Number of signs.No Large Big M signage !!.
    (v) Access would not be directly off the Roundabout.
    As you may possibly be aware , One of my platforms is “to see our village’s image, style and lifestyle maintained and sensibly developed over the years” (my Brochure refers).

    If elected I will not want to see The Village entrance decorated with a large MacDonald’s sign or any other Large Gaudy Advertising.!!

    I will be watching developments here.
    Hope this provides you and readers with some form of clarification on this issue.

  6. Thanks for making my point, Scott …

    Why shouldn’t the average ratepayer have the same access to this information as the privileged few with their “most reliable sources”?!

  7. Given the sensitive siting of the property,my view has always been that the Community must have a meaningful input before any decision.

    For any organisation to have a credible standing it must operate in a transparent and accountable manner.

  8. in terms of process, i actually agree with William, because the bottom line is what the current District Plan allows. if this site is zoned commercial, and the intended use conforms with the criteria for that zoning, then the nature of the business is completely beside the point.

    the "apartments saga" ref'd above was distinctly different because it bent/broke the rules. and in all good conscience, urging "community input" against something that fully complies (assuming it does) is like throwing snowballs into a volcano – a complete waste of time and money.

    the real question should be, should the DP contain site-specific rules for "gateway" locations, and if it should, how do (and can) you go about instituting them in a way that is robust enough to withstand appeal, etc.

    and, in context with the elections, who should have promoted this beforehand – and why didn't they.

    my point is that most people only raise concerns after the fact – when the rules are already laid down. the time to be active is when the rules are being promulgated … but too few people bother/have the gumption to extrapolate the possible – so effectively disempower themselves. you can't blame the council for that.

    ps: what $1 million? Kelt has never paid … and, i suggest, never will. Yule needs to explain why the contract he signed with Kelt has allowed him to renege – and why (if he had any integrity) he shouldn't now stump up himself.

  9. Bruce,

    While I take your point about early intervention when the rules are being made, c'mon now!

    You've been around. You know Councils can be amazingly inventive in their interpretation of "the rules" when they want — or don't want — something to happen.

    In this case, at the very least, HDC has the power to enforce certain siting and building conditions upon McD's, since operating a fast food restaurant is non-compliant with the location's current zoning … and the public might indeed have something useful to say about these.

    Furthermore, the HDC might at least pretend that they cared about folks in Havelock who were concerned about the community's amenities and preview McD's possibly "enlightened" plans to them.

  10. The McDonalds proposal certainly looks like another non-notified consent in the making.The residents of Havelock Nth and the surrounding rural environs absolutely should be consulted. This is an opportunity for HDC Councillors and Mayor Yule to demonstrate open engagement with the public on this issue.

  11. I'm sure that the good people of Havelock North would welcome the waft of 'Big Mac's' and resultant litter that flows from this outlet (but to be fair, they also support the Keep Hastings beautiful project).

    A modern attractive facility will assumingly be on the books for Havelock North, with of course the accompanying 'weight gain' that tends to follow. But I'm sure the personal trainers that the landed gentery of this fine suburb of Hastings employ, will do their best to ensure the added 'McFlab' will be eliminated.

  12. A little bit bemused by both current and prospective councillors complete lack of knowledge of the law as it pertains to this type of process, or perhaps just a simple disregard for it.

  13. Is Mr Belford modeling himself on one Robert Mugabe, where he has the absolute say on everything???

    It would be decent of Macca's to consult with the Council, and build and develop something that appeales to the current environment, but at the end of the day, as long as it complies there is diddly squat you can do about it, other than toss your toys out of you Bassinet, and tell everyone that you won't buy their products, but let me tell you, it is going to save a huge amount of people the drive into Hastings, a huge amount!! traffic controler Sam being one!!



  14. The question is not if Mcdonalds should be in Havelock North but rather where it should be located.

    Havelock North has an image of boutique shopping. The site in question is the gateway to Havelock North and is the first impression as you arrive over the bridge from Hastings.

    The Council would need to place huge restrictions on McDonalds; Planting to screen the building, style of building, height and size of signs, – amongst other things – to marry the two together and satisfy the residents. The area would have to be rezoned to accommodate it.

    Perhaps better options could be near the recycling station or, in the about-to-be vacated supermarket. Whatever the outcome, there needs to be robust consultation to satisfy the Ratepayers.

  15. Thank you Adele!

    This response may have been a bit longer, but Adele said everything i wanted to contribute, better than i could have.

  16. Wills needs to go to university and work on his literacy skills. His spelling is appalling. Perhaps some practice writing essays is in order? I suggest he begins with some research on Havelock North. He clearly knows little about the history of the village and the site he is so opinionated about. I’ll have fries with that! Will you be serving Wills?


  17. I find certain aspects of things strange and to a point quite funny…for example..

    For over 100 years now, the entranceway to Havelock North has been nothing but an over grown eyesore!!!! not one single person has made a move to tidy it up, other than the council mowing the grass.

    Now someone has come along, bought the block of land/native bush, of which no one has given a toss about all of this time, and is proposing to do something with it, and hey presto the "LAP DOGS" are barking, like they can do this, they can't do this, they can sell this, they can't sell that,and it can look like this,and it mustn't look like this that or the other, and so it goes on…unbelievable!! then on the other hand they have a central village with "Pods" to control the Boy Racers, they have super high crossings at the same roundabout to control the same activity, and to guide the drunks, they have Alcahol banned over most of the area to form some sort of control, look they can't even put up an Xmas Tree without destruction, and now the proposed arrival of a food giant at the entrance of the Village is a catastophe, perhaps it should be a police station…

    Welcome to Havvers Macca's, you will be run off your feet between 2am and 4.30am



  18. Who are you, "William" or "Wills" and why don't you sign your full name like the rest of us?

    I thought Baybuzz didn't publish anything written over a pseudonym – so how come this regular contributor can write anonymously?

    What's the rule, Tom?

    And what's your full name, "William"?

    Tom, I suggest you don't publish any more of this person's opinions until they clearly identify themselves.


  19. Totally believe and want Havelock North say on Mc Donalds coming to our village! AND want a meeting properly advertised and convened at a time that suits working people. Have voted for Adele. I hope she's stroppy!

  20. Having found out a little more (but not yet enough) about this, I'll be crafting a column on it in the not too distant future. For now, suffice to say I prefaced my original remarks with the word "assuming" … and have discovered that that assumption was incorrect. But that's just the tip of it….

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