I was checking the latest BayBuzz survey stats on attitudes toward McDonald’s coming to Havelock North. Now, with over 200 responses, 37% of all responders (and 45% of Havelock responders) agree with this statement:

“I’m philosophically opposed to McDonald’s very existence, as a ruiner of people’s health and the worst kind of American cultural and culinary export. I do not want a McDonald’s anywhere in Havelock North.”

But the balance of respondents — begrudgingly or not — believe that Big Macs for sale in Havelock North is inevitable, For them, it’s more a matter of location and how well the actual structure fits into the community’s ambiance.

That’s the view of planning specialist Grant McLachlan, who submits his advice in this guest piece. Here’s his conclusion, but I urge you to read his entire article:

“If the Village does not get behind the McVillage, they may end up getting precisely what they don’t want. The Kerikeri community tried to block any McDonald’s in their town. Instead of the building being a McStone Store they got a McLockwood that clashes with every building in town.

Instead of fighting tool and nail through the Courts such energy is best invested in the best design. A McVillage is a great way to define a community’s character by taking a universal brand and identifying a point of difference that sets the Village apart from everywhere else.

Wouldn’t it be great if people thought “Wow, what an amazing building! Oh, it’s a McDonald’s. I haven’t been to a McDonald’s for a while. Coffee?”

Who knows, if McDonald’s does it right, other buildings might adopt the same style leading to the restoration of the Village’s identity.

McDonald’s needs to release an artist’s impression before the deafening silence fuels paranoia.”

What do you think? Prudent advice from Grant? Or are you still prepared to man the barricades?

Tom Belford

P.S. Speaking of iconic brands, yesterday I mistakenly said that the Nelson Park site was for sale. That’s not the case. What is for sale is the adjoining property, which developer Charter Hall had also purchased. Sorry to anyone whose blood pressure I unnecessarily spiked.

Join the Conversation


  1. What a subtle form of coercion. Similar to the threats re environmental damage of landscape by development if we don’t accept the premise and work to minimise the damage. Collateral damage indeed. Nothing, as we saw with Ocean Beach, is inevitable, and the same things were said there, as Grant McLaughlin is saying here: Put your effort into compliance and not into resistance. Let’s all die now.

  2. Wellesley, that is not what I am saying. No McDonalds can comply with what is permitted under the Hastings District Plan. It will be publicly notified, and if it isn't, I will be the first to appeal any non-notified consent.

    And since you mention it, Ocean Beach would have provided clusters of more affordable housing surrounded by landscaped reserves with more public access to more people. Instead, they are now more likely to have exclusive huge houses on huge lots with less public access.

  3. Hey Grant, Affordable housing at Ocean beach-really is that so! That's Andys line which most of us did not buy into.

  4. I think Grant is coming at this from the right angle. If not McDonalds then Burger King or some other fast food giant will eventually arrive because they meet all of the requirements of the District Council rules and regulations. Why for example should Wisconsin Gourmet Burgers whoi are currently in the village have more right than McDonalds?

    If we work with them we may end up with something at least pleasing to the eye and those who find the food repugnant can at least admire the architecture.

    Murray Painter

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