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.