As the year comes to a close, all manner of ‘loose ends’ have been left dangling.

Here are a few that occur to me. Perhaps you can add others.

In Hastings, the biggest question mark appears to be whether the sports park will be ‘rescued’ by getting the nod for a North Island velodrome. I say ‘rescued’ because the latest defense offered by the Sports Park Trust for failing fundraising is that prospects are holding back, waiting to see if a velodrome might bring sufficient ‘added value’ to make sponsorships worthwhile. If there is no velodrome, get ready, Hastings ratepayers, to open your wallets!

But there’s other stuff happening in the Hastings District.

A re-write of the District plan has been initiated. All sorts of ideas and agendas seem to be floating around rejuvenation of the Hastings CBD and ‘civic centre’. The folks in Haumoana/Te Awanga are still clamouring for a rescue of their (our?) coastline. The Council is capping the stinking Clive wastewater treatment plant, while questions still remain unanswered as to what sort of ‘biomass’ is being flushed into the Bay, with what ecological impact. And residents of Havelock North eagerly await the grand opening of their McDonald’s.

In Napier, there are never any problems.

Unless you count a desperate lawsuit by those desperately attached to Marineland. You have to begin asking yourself what is going on here? Is it truly a case of a bunch of ignorant fanatics, trapped in the 50’s,  simply unable to come to grips with the wisdom of the Napier Council? Or has the Council actually botched what shouldn’t be the decision of the century for Napier?

A fight also appears to loom over the wacky ward/at-large system for electing Napier’s Councillors. A review of the system is statutorily required during the coming term. And while protesting that ‘local’ representation will suffer if amalgamation is pursued, the same complaining Councillors (and Mayor) will do their best to eliminate the genuine local representation that wards offer, if seriously embraced.

On a positive note, the revamp of the Museum will soon be underway … a delight and indulgence for the tiny number of HB residents who ever avail themselves of its riches.

Otherwise, Napier seems to be on cruise control. However, this does dismay some city leaders, chiefly from the private sector, who are quietly organizing to develop a new vision for Napier … with some fresh energy behind it.

At the Health Board, all eyes are on the re-elected members and what their agenda might be.

Arguably, the biggest piece of unfinished business remains the rehabilitation of Cranford. Despite the smiling faces of a new Governance Board and a new general manager happily collecting checks from a dutifully grateful community, the fact remains, the nature and quality of the service to be provided by Cranford Hospice is still to be defined. The very nurses who built Cranford’s legendary reputation for care are still fighting — via lawsuit — for redress, even while holding themselves available to redeploy at the ‘new’ Cranford. The plain fact is — if one compares CV by CV — those fired this past year are far better qualified than those hired to replace them. And the new Governance Board, installed back in July with the promise of re-connecting with the community, is yet to actually meet with the community!

At the DHB, the good news is that we have an elected Board and Chair to hold accountable again. Finances appear to be in order, and some promising advances are underway with respect to diabetes care, Maori health services and health care delivery in Wairoa. How the DHB plans to cope with a burgeoning senior population remains to be seen. And its public advocacy role — from educating the public about its fluoride choice (in Hastings) and its foul air and water — could be much strengthened. But at least with elected folks at the helm, we presumably have better recourse. I’m a fan of Chairman Kevin Atkinson, but that won’t stop me from nagging him on issues where I hear ongoing public concern.

Then there’s the Regional Council. One hardly knows where to begin.

Despite all the public announcements, stakeholders groups, water forums, etc, not a single river in Hawke’s Bay is getting any cleaner. Not a one!

The Central Hawke’s Bay Council has still not filed a resource consent committing itself to a new wastewater treatment scheme that would improve the Tukituki (you might recall that this was the major ‘achievement’ incumbents crowed about during the election). AFFCO continues to pump unconscionable amounts of pollutants into the Wairoa River while pursuing ‘mediation’. Dairy farmers are meandering through stakeholders meetings that might some year produce a clean-up plan for the Taharua/Mohaka. Even spray from the Clive River is a health hazard. And both the Ngaruroro River and Karamu Stream have their own problems. All of these situations will carry forward unresolved into the new year.

Meantime, it’s taken the Regional Council over six months to come up with even a ‘transitional’ plan for revamping Venture Hawke’s Bay and getting on with the task of better marketing the Bay. And the transitional plan would really be tested for another six months. Meanwhile, no one seems able to produce a ‘regional events strategy’ that was promised almost a year ago.

Various water harvesting ‘feasibility’ studies are underway, with stakeholders groups dutifully appointed (I’m on one of them) to bless the initiatives HBRC is already committed to. A woefully inadequate Regional Resource Management Plan must be re-written in the months ahead. And soon we’ll see the reprise of a ‘holding company’ designed to manage the big projects that are too vexing for the Regional Council itself.

Then if research nearing completion into the state of the Heretaunga Plains aquifer yields news as unsettling as the news from similar research just completed on the Ruataniwha aquifer — and I’m told it will — all hell will break loose.

Hey, but we do have some cool ‘future scenarios’ for the region, printed in expensive booklets that 99% of ratepayers will never see … or miss.

Do I sound grumpy as I contemplate the year-end for Hawke’s Bay in governance terms? Well, here’s your chance to lift my sights and tell me about all the good stuff I must be overlooking. Go ahead … refresh my hope!

I have made a new year’s pledge to be as constructive as possible. Maybe attending fewer Council sessions would help. After all, ignorance is bliss.

Best wishes for the new year!

Tom Belford

Join the Conversation


  1. Yes! another year gone already.

    Watch this space with the "Water" I believe there are vested interests just under the sufrace here, who have reasons other than just Consents , time will prove me right.

    Its great to be a Ratepayer in a City that can afford to leave assets unused , we have so much spare money!!.

    Stonecroft , the house that the Council purchased on the corner of Omahu Road and the Motorway still remains empty.

    How many years now?.

    Nice coat of paint and if they ever had any Idea just what it was to be used for , it would have been by now.

    There was some Waffle about "Art Groups" but I do not see the Traffic Wardens managing the resulting gridlock of cars rushing to get up the drive.

    To allow me to sleep at night I have asked new Councillor John Roil investigate whats going on there .

    John is a no holds barred chap and we can expect a quick reply.

    Next year ?

    If we find we have to pay for a cycle track , then lets give "Stoncroft" Stonycroft? to the "Morris Dancers"

    At least, it will attract attention resulting in the odd "Pileup" on the Motorway .

    Happy New Year.


  2. Thank you again for raising the issues that plague our community. I continue to watch with some considerable interest, as do many of my friends/relatives and colleagues the ongoing issues with Cranford Hospice – having read in the Hawkes Bay Today and The Dominion, the issues are ongoing. It is distressing to read that quite a number of nurses are pursuing a case through the courts. What a sad lagacy that the old management – now thankfully gone, have left, and even more distressing that the issues are ongoing. I sincerely hope that the new governance can postively clear up the issues so Cranford can truly move forward. I have only ever heard postitive things about nurses at Cranford, so how is it 11 nurses are going to court?!

    Sort out the problems Kevin Atkinson – make it your first job in 2011, the community needs cranford back.

  3. Do the right thing Presbytarian Support, history speaks for itself, Cranford never had any problems till the new Management stepped in. Were the nurses just doing what they do best and speaking up for their patients and their families, and in doing so paid the ultimate price.

    Put ego's aside here and do the right thing, how can you replace the years of experience when the country has a shortage of experienced health staff.

    I for one will not be donating to Cranford until the wrongs are put right.

  4. m Donnison, reading back over past year it a appears some of Cranfords issues are longstanding.One would have assummed the management(now mostly exited) would have,if suitably qualified attempted to 'fix' the past instead of implimenting change without the skills or support to do so.

    Best wishes to those nurses who fought for their patients and their rights, as you move ahead with ERA.

    You may all get to tell your story and to expose the lie and deny that you were subjected to by your management team of PSEC/Cranford and the DHB .

  5. One witty achievement of Tom Belford, creator of BayBuzz, is the manner in which he allows his correspondents to expose themselves for their ignorance.

    Mr Belford’s wit is underscored by his willingness to allow the ignorant to display their shortcomings further with poor language and painful attempts at the sardonic.

    One example is Michael Clark’s latest erratic ramble . . . from water consents, to the expressway, then Morris dancing.

    It will not take new councillor John Roil 12 months, as suggested by Mr Clark, to report back on the important work Hastings District Council is still doing to preserve Stoneycroft.

    The building has had more than “a nice coat of paint”; new foundations, roofing, fire and burglar-proofing are among the expensive tasks undertaken by the council to bring it back to standards well-matching the demands of the Historic Places Trust.

    Mr Clark set out a year ago to establish “myself and and Family as Generational long suffering Ratepayers, that do care about the Community and Enviroment.” (sic)

    That was intended to be the “first Salvo of Many across the Bow of the Good Ship HDC. . . . to enable me to get my Eye in’. (sic)

    Since then Mr Clark has chosen to ignore reports, for instance, those in BayBuzz on the future of Stoneycroft.

    Neither has he attended public sessions at Stoneycroft (at least seven), also at the Hastings Public Library, Duart House (Havelock North), Oruawharo (Takapau), various Probus groups from Waipukurau to Napier and the likes of the HB Philosophical Society at the Faraday Centre at Napier.

    Nor, in the eight months since April, when a detailed report appeared in BayBuzz, has Mr Clark been able to absorb that Stoneycroft has been set aside to allow the community to band together to establish a knowledge bank, an historical digital repository of Hawke’s Bay’s wonderfully rich history.

    Mr Roil will be able to tell him, however, that many private citizens have rallied behind the project. Since the BayBuzz article in April, people have dipped into their pockets to contribute sums amounting so far to $41,000. This has occurred during an ever-tightening fiscal period.

    Meanwhile, work has continued without the supervision of Mr Clark. For instance, talks continue with the National Library and other technical institutions. The principal of one of the nation’s micrographics specialist firms is in Hawke’s Bay as I write. He’s here to help further the cause. Also, unbeknown to Mr Clark, a Hawke’s Bay-born senior representative of an organisation in Berkley, California, is involved along with New Zealand organisations of which he is a director.

    Only just before Christmas, the Hastings District Council made important furniture available for use in the downstairs public areas at Stoneycroft. This provided an opportunity to make the most of a board table, an extremely well-manufactured piece harking back to the days of the old Hawke’s Bay County Council.

    The community foundation and HDC are working right now to see whether a large historical photo mural of the district can be restored for a wall at Stoneycroft.

    We’re still hoping to be able to announce early this year our plans for a stage one opening. If Mr Clark would like to support the community and the environment he cares for, a generous donation would speed the cause.

    With such assistance, he and his offspring will soon be able to join the throngs he’s been watching for on the drive to Stoneycroft.


    Project champion.

    Community Foundation HB.

    Phone 879 6362

  6. Way to go James! Like your good friend Byron Buchanan-your'e a dooer -Not a talker.

    David Bosley

  7. Another "loose end " that could do with some reasoned explanation was excently provided for in H.Bay Today, Jan 10th by Bruce Bissett "Precious beaches already locked up" "relating to the foreshore and seabed legislation."

    Recently 4 books, for public reading, by Christchurch Waitangi Ass. Robert Consedine "Healing our History through the Treaty of Waitangi" were donated to the Robson Collection housed in the Napier Public Library,as part of the 18 books donated to celebrate 20 years since the inception of the Robson Collection.

    Until our own nations stories are shared at school and at training college,with the same enthusiasm as other nations history is taught,one hopes the present confusion from "Letters to the Editor correspondents", can be now assisted by a vist to our own public libraries

  8. Tom – you seem to be asserting that you have personally seen, perused & assessed the CV's of every current & past nurse at Cranford. Surely not?

  9. In reply to Steve Evans and to give some weight to Tom's comments within his editorial I comment as follows:

    I have inside knowledge of the overall process/debacle that took place at Cranford Hospice last year and can confirm that the Nursing staff that was kept on at the time of restructuring and nursing staff subsequently reemployed recently is in most cases vastly substandard to the Nurses that were let go last year.

    The majority of the Nurses that were let go, were Nurses that had disagreements with the “then management” with regards to “cutting of care for their patients” and “the extreme unprofessional Bullying” treatment by management towards their colleagues.

    These 2 issues led to these nurses being removed (by way of “restructuring”) which in turn has led to a large number of Nurses taking legal action against their employer.

    All of the removed Nurses involved are either “Highly Qualified” and/or long term Palliative Care specialists.

    All of these Nurses do not understand many issues like:

    • Why they were driven out of this “Hawke's Bay iconic service” when they where trying to ensure the “best care” by way of “best practice” for their patients?

    • Why the then PSEC Board listened to a Manager that they have since removed from Cranford, whose entire excuse about the lack of “Change Management” within Cranford was the result of “a number of Nurses that were trouble makers”. Trouble makers to whom?

    Not their patients or their families who they were caring for!

    • Why their employer PSEC and Management never consulted with them during the change management process. Why were they told that working at Cranford is “NOT working in a democracy”? “Get on the Cranford Bus or leave!”

    What type of manager voices these types of messages? Not a successful one obviously. (Maybe this is why he no longer is employed either!)

    To Steve Evans and others,

    All the Nurses involved, now wish that they had just minded their own business!

    This entire process has been a massive drain on their personal and professional lives.

    There has been no support by PSEC or the HBDHB to investigate the true issues of the restructuring debacle. PSEC/HBDHB has engaged lawyers to try and drag the process out with the hope and expectation that the large number of Nurses in the legal dispute may fall away with time.

    Unfortunately these Nurses are all angry women, and how does the old saying go!

    Good luck to those who want to bury their head in the sand, if they think this particular

    Group of “professional care givers” are going to give up their fight for fairness and correctness.

    They are all wishing that they remained at Cranford as their love for their profession and the people that they care for was more than just a job. It was a life’s calling. They are not just employees; they are special people that care for the Dying.

    Could you do that job?

  10. Outstanding bit of question-dodging J.Swindell. Have you considered a career in politics?

    Your points are widely known, often repeated & have considerable support from many in the community, including myself, who hope for an equitable & just outcome at Cranford.

    However, one point needs to be kept front of mind is that much of the damage to morale of both nurses & the organisation came from media reports & ex-management assertions that Cranford nurses were short on experience, competence & training. Now we have Baybuzz & contributors such as yourself pedalling the same morale damaging accusations at the remaining workforce. In other words, conducting exactly the same behaviour that they were so outraged by.

    It's hard to see how the place is going to get back on it's feet & regain public support when remaining staff are under attack from another source.

  11. you are right Steve, in acknowledging the bad management, so why cant Presbyterian Support stand up and put the injustices to an end. The nurses, both remaining and removed, have and are, the victims in all this.

    Cranford is short staffed, and has only 4 beds open.

    Presbyterian support has the capabilities to bring this to a positive conclusion for all.

  12. PSEC in the past lacked business knowledge and skills hence the disasterous state of Cranford hospice today.

    What is their excuse now?

    A new management structure and still issues abound.

    Nurses this court case is your opportunity to inform the public of the mismanagement of Cranford by PSEC and latterly the DHB.

    All luck to the nurses.Redemption for the staff of the past, the doctors and pharmacists the bereavement team.

  13. Dear me , I have upset a Mr Morgan.

    Yes, I did ask John Roil to look into why it has taken all this time to use Stoneycroft to the advantage of the Ratepayers.

    John is only over the Fence so I will wander over and inform him I have all the information required now.

    Great to hear that Hastings will have somewhere to display its history.

    As to Dipping into my pocket for Donations to the cause ,Iwill let my Rates do that and confine my giving to Child Cancer.

    When the Council "Set Aside" the building for the "People of Hastings" I t was suggested to me that I may like to set up a Cafe there.

    The Idea did not find favor with me and it pleases me to see this Lovely old historic Building being used for the purpose it was first intended for.



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