The Regional Council voted today to delay a decision on its proposed Holding Company (to own and manage key assets like the Port) until 2011 … in other words, until after the election.

This is exactly the outcome BayBuzz predicted in our in-depth analysis of the issue in this June 11 article, Big Brother and the Holding Company.

The decision was 6-1 to delay, with only Councillor Neil Kirton preferring to proceed now. He argued that every day of delay in moving forward was costing ratepayers, as the Regional Council’s investment portfolio would continue to under-perform.

But the majority of Councillors either felt personally un-prepared to make the decision or that the public had not had sufficient opportunity to consider the details and make informed input.

And given that context (a cynic might say, given that “excuse”), most Councillors felt no urgency about moving quickly.

I suspect that if the exact same cast of Councillors is sitting at the table in 2011, looking at the same detailed analyses that the staff has prepared (too belatedly for this go-round), the Holding Company will be approved in some incarnation.

Tom Belford

P.S. Alan Dick (due to sudden illness in family) and Kevin Rose (out of the country) were absent and did not vote. I’m not going too far out on a limb to suggest that, if they had voted, the outcome would have been 7-2, with Chairman Dick supporting moving ahead and Councillor Rose preferring to defer.

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2 Comments

  1. Sound decision by Councillors.

    I heard the speel of economic advisor Robert Philpott both at the public meeting in Havelock and Council. He was marketing the Holding Company with misleading information. At one point he said, 'why settle for 4% return on assets when you could be getting 9%.'

    That's so deceitful and patently hype Councillors are very smart to postpone their decision, because when such bullshit is spread, there's bound to be a smell.

  2. Good point Mark, need it be pointed out that 'economic/financial advisers' are one of the least trusted groups of people.

    How does the Regional Council justify creating a 'Holding Company', with its attached Board, staff and increased costs that will all ultimately be borne by the citizens of Hawkes Bay?

    No doubt some idiot has spun the line that private business does everything better than local government, considering the state of the world economy the irony and stupidity of this statement is well exposed.

    Retain the asset management in house as part of Council and thereby ensure closer scrutiny and accountability. After all these are the communities assets, not a private fiefdom.

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