Today I officially filed as a candidate for the Regional Council.

I am pleased to be nominated by Claire Vogtherr, local business, education and civic leader, and by Bruno Chambers, farmer, environmentalist and chairman of the Te Mata Park Trust.

I am standing because I regard the current Council as asleep at the wheel, falling behind over the last decade in both of its major functions — protecting our environment and promoting a more vibrant and diversified regional economy. These challenges require new ideas, more vigorous action, and fresh faces.

I am standing for one of the four Hastings ward seats on the Regional Council, currently occupied by Councillors von Dadelszen, Rose, McGregor and Remmerswaal.

Liz Remmerswaal is an ardent voice for the environment, and has my full support.

Of course BayBuzz will continue to publish through the election window, bringing issue analysis from me and the many other voices who publish in BayBuzz. Our newspaper and website are open to all candidates for advertising, and our website includes a section — Election 2010 — with links to other candidates’ online resources.

I look forward to a spirited campaign.

Tom Belford

Join the Conversation


  1. Go Tom Go and if you want any help with your campaign I'm happy to be a volunteer…

  2. Excellant news ,,Best wishes for the campaign ,if you have flyers made ,, I will help distribute .

  3. Great to have someone who is farsighted and can see the big picture. Wish we had someone in Auckland with these attributes.


  4. Congratulations – as a Napier leaseholder I'm looking forward to seeing you as a Hastings rep on HBRC! Let me know when you're free to have a chat about that – and my own challenge to become the next MAYOR OF NAPIER…

  5. Excellent news Tom and just what Hawke’s Bay needs, a change from the farming lobby with its persistent incapability of seeing beyond the farm gate and city old boy’s club politics.

    It will remain to be seen if local voters are sufficiently awake and unparochial to vote you in, when your holistic view and incisive analytic ability are so much needed.

  6. Good on you, Tom! I would be happy to give some help with your compaign.

    Pauline Lowe

  7. I have been "out of town" but when catching up on the news, and BayBuzz, was great to read on the 26th July 2001 you decided to have a go at local body politics.

    Your well focused concern for our beautiful province, and its people has been, and still is inspirational.-You have led from the front,

    and encouraged a platform with Baybuzz, for others to speak out,to show concern towards looking after our planet that sustains us.

    Now more than ever H.B politics, at all levels of expertises, needs and deserves real educated activists otherwise we further stagnate.

    All we can do is to tell our friends "to vote for Tom Belford for the H.B Regional Council", and to post you a few dollars towards your hoadings. (put our money where our mouth is)

  8. To Michelle and all those other misguided people who are posting comments and support on Tom’s candidacy. You should realise that this is political promotion, and as such, the cost of this web site immediately becomes a cost of his election campaign. The amount he can spend is limited by law. I suggest that if you wish to support him, you do so through his personal e-mail and not incur him in expense he would prefer to spend in other ways.

    You will recognise this web site is not cheap to maintain, and you are using it on his political campaign.

    To Tom, I suggest you remove these endorsements very quickly, as the clock is ticking.

    Philip M Ward

  9. The motivation behind postings is always interesting but often hard to determine

    Not so in Philip Ward's case.

    Philip M Ward on September 30th, 2008 5:00 pm

    "I have long had a suspicion that BayBuzz was the PR Arm of the Green Party …. I do hope they have either presented themselves to the Electoral Commission and sought permission to spend up to $100,000 on behalf of the Greens. Somehow, why am I reminded of the Exclusive Bretheren"

    And now, "the clock is ticking," sounds like a threat to me, which would indicate Philip is probably an Act party supporter.

  10. Mark, if you actually like to dig back, not just a couple of years, but 40 years, you will find the name of the only political party I have ever joined, promoted and stood for election


    And for what it is worth, it was not any of the National Parties.

    As to my current support, that is between me and the ballot box. So I do not intend to confirm or deny your wild guesses.

    The reality is my posting above is an attempt to see that these local body elections are played on a level playing field.

    Philip M Ward

  11. Hi Tom & Michelle – Forget which party Philip Ward stands for, this is a simple choice between visionary people wanting a bright future for everyone in the region & some rule-bound bloke tapping his rule book because he doesn't like being challenged personally, politically & technologically. Best of wishes to both of you. If you don't win, how about we change the logo beneath those four embarrasing art-deco signs entering Napier to "Stuck in the past. Scared of the Future"

  12. Philip M Ward's thoughtful concern over the cost of this web-site is touching indeed and I suggest that he might care to make a donation towards its continuance as an essential, cutting- edge information source, in an otherwise largely, journalistically barren province.

    We all owe considerable gratitude to Tom Belford for launching BayBuzz and enabling the essential investigative work that it has undertaken to date.

    David Appleton

  13. Philip M Ward might also like to consult the laws relating to electoral spending limits.

    Baybuzz is an editorial site where content (aside from advertisements) is not paid for. It is a forum, where people can express their opinion on a particular matter, whatever their political leanings. Once again this service is open to anyone with no fee associated with it.

    Blogs, twitter and other social media are no different than writing letters to the Editor.

    Hence I’m confident you are barking up the wrong tree. P.S. Is it full moon time?

  14. The issue is more complex than Paul Evans states. It is interesting because there has not been a situation like it here especiallty with the blog owner an election candidate.

    I ran 3 times as a candidate for NCC from 2001 to 2007 and have gone through the process of declaring election expenses each time.

    I have no opinion in this instance other than democracy is about equal opportunity. Blogs can provide what few traditional papers do and go some way to providing level playing fields.

    As usual NZ is in the process of reinventing the wheel rather than learn from experiences off shore. Our abysmal management of land use and water resources are prime examples of this.

    We havnt even started on advanced treatement of waste waters that remove environment and habitat degrading chemicals and metals.

    If a blog is spelling that out then candidates can spend as much as they like if they know what issues and processes are. Most dont.

    Seat warmers are ten a penny. Class acts are in short supply. Voters get what they deserve reflected in their choices

  15. Arguably it is not significantly more complicated than I state. The blog is owned by Bay Buzz Ltd of which Tom is the sole director.

    Hence it is fair to say that Bay Buzz is owned by Tom. There would be a degree of debate around whether Tom's blog is commercial (personal blogs are excluded, however just by virtue of it having advertising doesn't necessitate that it is 'commercial' as many personal blogs are also monetised using Google adsense).

    Furthermore it would be difficult for anyone making a ruling to determine the value of the blog posts, as they are not a 'paid for' activity. For arguments sake you could perhaps apportion an amount of infrastructural costs (such as web hosting) however for the most part these are fixed overheads. Plus if this were the case this would only apply to Tom as the blog owner, not to other candidates who are commenting upon editorial as was suggested by Philip M Ward.

    You'll also note that Tom now has advertisements promoting his candidacy on BayBuzz. These would certainly be considered under electoral spending caps, however I'm sure that Tom is an astute enough individual to include a fair value for this in his related disclosures.

  16. To put people at ease:

    Yes, I have considered carefully and sought counsel on the rules & regs regarding campaign spending as they might relate to BayBuzz. I consider myself VERY well informed on the matter.

    Yes, candidates can comment on whatever they like as much as they like on BayBuzz, without that being construed as a campaign expense (per written advice from HBRC Elections Officer).

    Yes, any candidate (including Tom Belford) can advertise in BayBuzz at the published rate card prices, and such advertising is a campaign expense that should be duly reported.

    Finally, although not required of me by the regs, if I explicitly promote my own candidacy by direct reference in editorial content (other than paid ads), I intend to assign a pro-rated cost and treat it as a campaign expense, to be reported.

    Can we get on with the campaign now?

  17. This will be my last public comment on the issue of Freeloaders using the Web and published media.

    As I told Mark, my last direct involvement was about 40 years ago. I have no idea how the current incumbents will interpret the law. But I suspect that the powers to be, like in other areas, they will lean over backwards to appease.

    The real differences are twofold, in my day the law was interpreted strictly, and in my mind that was fair and equitable. The real difference is that then, the candidates and the media adopted a strong belief that the ethical and moral standards must be upheld.

    The media would report on the candidates standing and who were their sponsors, as a free service. Anything a candidate wanted to say on policy and wish lists, were electioneering, and had to be part of their electioneering budget.

    I know that 3 years ago, the Radio stopped broadcasts by incumbents and aspirants. If you look back at the printed media, they refused to accept Letters to the Editor from all candidates.

    But from what I see, Bay Buzz has thrown this standard out of the window. The Editor is a candidate, and he appears to have thrown ethical and moral standards out of the window for himself and his “friends”.

    If this is the standard he wants to bring to the Council Table, then may the Lord protect us.

    Philip M Ward

  18. Dear Philip,

    Go flame Tom Belford somewhere else.

    If you dislike Tom Belford just lay your cards on the table, better still why not run yourself?

    Tom is more that welcome to say whatever he likes on my websit e as often as he likes.

    You see some people wish to hear from their candidates.

  19. Reply to Derek Williams

    Please don’t phone me up at home telling me “I don’t know what I’m talking about”, “waffling about things I don’t know about”, “I haven’t got a clue about what I’m doing or talking about” or that Tom Belford “is as bent as a nine bob note”.

    If you have something to say email me and I will make sure it’s published online.

    Otherwise please don’t rant down the phone line because I will quote you.

    Gee whiz can’t we get some good candidates for Napier? What about you “JH” in Napier you said you may run?

  20. Sounds to me Phillip M Ward, that you've got to much time on your hands.

    Go Tom – you've got my support,

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.