To sort out the public business of 166,000 residents of Hawke’s Bay?

The photo above, taken this week as our five councils met to consider their options on the Government’s proposed ‘3 Waters’ reforms, provides a clue.

But only a clue as some councillors are missing and other players — iwi reps and chief executives — are present.

The answer: Hawke’s Bay has 49 councillors (including a chair for HBRC), 4 mayors and 5 chief executives to take care of business.

That’s one elected representative for each 3,132 residents, or one for each 2,471 eligible voters. Seems like a heap of representation!

Perhaps we should take comfort that so many agreed on a day to meet!

As for the substantive outcome … they agreed to put skeptical questions to the Minister for Local Government. Here is the letter sent, with a strong focus on local accountability concerns, but no real challenge to the economies of scale afforded by the Government’s scheme. What seems clear is that — one way or the other — consolidation of water services is going to occur … and is overdue.

And they issued a huffy media release.

But uh oh, beware the last line of the release: “In the meantime, Councils are working towards submitting individual feedback to Government.” [Italics added!]

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10 Comments

  1. Can’t understand why we need so many,get rid of half of them,so we have more money for necessities.

    1. Roseanna and Grant, if you’re in Hastings you may want to submit on the Representation Review consultation that HDC is undergoing – looks at the number of councilors as well as Māori representation structure.

    2. We tried doing that with amalgamation and it failed sadly. The anti-amalgamators put a stop to it. Yet they cleverly whinge (not saying that you are one) about rates and lack of funds.

  2. While there’s that disturbing comment about continuing individual feedback it would seem that the Councils are trying (I use the term loosely) to work together to put a case to the Government on a regional basis. Which makes me wonder – where was this (again loosely) togetherness when amalgamation was sought? When pushed into a corner the Councils seem to want to put a combined face on decisions – why wasn’t that around back then? And that seems a hell of a lot of councillors etc to run what is admittedly a fairly small population. In economy terms – are we getting value for money having so many people in charge – I rather doubt it!

  3. With global warming effects blindingly evident and accelerating, competent and nationally coordinated water infrastructure handling, whether of potable water supply, storm-water or sewage, is NOW and into the future of critical importance, thus we cannot afford to continue the machinations of local politics and parochially limited vision to predominate. Central Government has the essential, holistic approach, so lets get on with it.

  4. hooray! i can reasonably be assured that someone (at least) among that number will be representative of my views. reduce them and you’ll get a greater proportion of wealthy businessmen/farmers – those who can afford to run the sort of well-funded campaigns it takes to win (read, buy) a seat in larger geographic areas with more constituents. will any of them still represent my views? far less likely. democracy is not a “cost”, it’s a service!

  5. Why are the wellington beauracrats scheming up another gigantic grandiose experiment..
    This scheme on an international scale for our population is mind boggling…
    If that Amalgamation had of gone threw..what would we have in CHB,..nothing..no Alex Walker,no infrastructure experience ,we who live on the outer reaches of our communities
    These schemes are worthless ,only creating outrageous salaries for a very few ..
    They,ll require a mass of vehicles ,offices ..for what .!!!!

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