Mayor Yule says he is “pretty p****d off” that the sports park is being held up by a group of “five or six” people. Exactly 14,880 people voted to put the track out on Percival Road, he says.

The sports park trust chairman, Rex Graham, adds: “Who do they think they are? It’s arrogant and elitist.”

Let’s try to set the record straight. Here’s what the Hastings Council website says.

Out of 50,144 eligible voters, 14,854 voted to put an athletics track, a 1,000 seat grandstand, and associated parking at Percival Road. At the time, this was called the Percival Road Sports and Recreation Park.

In other words, just under 30% of eligible Hastings voters (and no one elsewhere in the region, of course) voted for a rather limited facility. In their mind’s eye, they saw simply a transplanted Nelson Park. And many of them chose that option as the lesser of two evils — they didn’t want “big box” retail development spoiling the fertile countryside instead.

Then miraculously, the limited track facility metamorphosed into Hastings’ own Incredible Hulk — a $60 million+ “regional” sports complex complete with velodrome … all on prime farmland.

The Incredible Hulk wouldn’t garner 14,854 votes today … and the Mayor knows it. The 9,142 ratepayers (not 5 or 6 elitists) who opposed the sale of Nelson Park back in 2006 would double today — I’ll wager — in opposition to the regional sports park.

The Hawke’s Bay Land Protection Society, in exercising its rights to challenge the sports park, is speaking and acting for thousands of ratepayers who believe this venture represents bad fiscal management, bad land use policy, bad social strategy, bad sports policy and — yes — bad recession relief.

But meanwhile Mayor Yule is frantically trying to cobble together the financing that Sam Kelt has failed to muster. He’s looking to Wellington to bail him out, and it doesn’t help to have the “untidiness” of an Environment Court, and now High Court, appeal against the project.

Nor does it help his case that neither the Napier nor Regional Councils have committed definitive sports park funding in their pending long term plans (LTCCPs). Instead, both are said to be giving themselves plenty of wiggle room.

Even the Hawke’s Bay Today isn’t kissing up to the sports park … it’s reporting the opposition.

The whole thing could turn to custard.

So the Mayor’s “pretty p****d off.”

Well, so are plenty of ratepayers who see the sports park as the wrong idea at the wrong place at the wrong time, advanced in complete disregard of due process.

Tom Belford

Join the Conversation


  1. A lot of Havelock North residents were a bit p****d off when the HDC issued two compliance certificates for 15 & 64 residential units back in 2006.

    After a lot of effort,time and money a judicial review was held in The High Court 5th June 2008, The Havelock North Citizens Incorporated were successful as the certificates issued by HDC were found to be unlawful not just on one point, but all.

    The Judgment makes interesting reading as to some of the short falls of HDC procedure.

    Court action swallows up a lot of money and time but if you leave the gate open whose fault is it.

    The question is – did the Council follow the correct procedure, if so why would a plaintiff throw money at a seemingly hopeless case?

    Time will tell.

  2. Perhaps Mr Mayor needs to be reminded, that we agreed to relocate the track and Grandstand…..end of story!! and that process, was not going to cost the ratepayer, of who coincidently, is mostly a struggling home owner, a single solitary cent, but the goalposts have been shifted some what, and now those same struggling home owners, have seen Tennis Courts, Netball Courts, a bloomin Veladrome of all things, and whatever else, that takes the Mayors fancy, stuck on the list, now perhaps Mr Mayor, some of these home owners, are a tad Peed off too, as they probably seem to think, that you are in the process, of helping yourself to their bank accounts??? not to mention the future generations, who before they are born, will come into this world, facing huge borrowings to pay off…….there is one hell of a premium to pay, simply by owning your own home to live in, isn't there.



  3. HDC told the Commissioners at the hearings that they needed a Plan Change to build the grandstand (& other Sports Park buildings)

    Then when time delays occurred due to HB Land Protection Society's appeal to the Environment Court, HDC issued a non-notified resource consent to build the grandstand.

    If they can build the grandstand HDC can also build the veledrome and whatever else they like at Percival Road, or anywhere else for that matter, without consultation

    Of course this must be tested in the High Court. It's way out of order and indicates how mesmerised Yule and his Council cohorts have become over the sports park.

    All the while Sam Kelt is still taking $25,000 a month for orchestrating each episode of 'The Hulk'

    Stay tuned.

  4. I think you'll find that the 14,854 who VOTED for the sports park is more than those who VOTED against it. I guess you should be taking the people who voted as a true representation of our community's opinion. Face it, no matter how many opponents of the sports park there is, the majority of our citizens wanted it. We live in a democracy, live with it.

    As for the taking up of valuable land, there is actually a large % of fertile land thats undeveloped, they lay as empty paddocks. Till we actually utilise our plains to the maximum potential, I think its a bit of a farce complaining about a project which will create jobs in the mean time.

    Opponents of the site should now face the realisation of defeat. There is essentially no way of Nelson Park returning unless at an extreme cost to rate payers. To see the progress already made torn up would be more of travesty then the original move.

  5. After the "enough in enough" Hikoi, I attending subsequent hui , by invitaion, held at Te Araki Marae to share preventative programmes for the good of Flaxmere, and naturally for the benifit of the wider community of Napier and Hastings,

    Community resources are required with whanau and youth workers essential to facilitate towards work and play. for many families in Flaxmere.

    To be sure, if the Nelson Sports Park took priority over the urgent requirents for Flaxmere, future support for Flaxmere would be met "with a sigh"–what with the splash planet and opera house,the cupboard towards community development will be bare.,

    I suggested "Flaxmere First" Sports Park second", to a Hastings sports park advocate when suggesting to a Napier audience " we get in behind to support the Hastings Sports Park vision," but as expected, "near the twain will ever meet,as the speaker took a full minute to shut her mouth, after my simple question.

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