Section 10 of the Local Government Act 2002 says that: “The purpose of local government is … to promote the social, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being of communities, in the present and for the future.”

Our local Councils seem to struggle with the “social well-being” part of this mandate. They shrug off this responsibility, usually saying that the matters one might reasonably consider to constitute social well-being — for example, quality housing, poverty alleviation, preventive health care, crime prevention, among others — are actually the responsibility of central government agencies and their local/regional emissaries. “Not our job,” say the Councillors.

True, of course, there are dedicated agencies for addressing these issues.

Still, the people who most need these services in Hawke’s Bay are actually members of our community … not alien wards of some foreign bureaucracies. And they are the political constituents of our local elected Councils, from whom they should expect recognition, representation and advocacy with respect to their needs.

According to documents prepared for the Heretaunga Plains Urban Development Strategy, fully one-third of the population in the study area lives in decile 9 or 10 areas … that is, the most deprived areas.

This one-third of the population should occupy our elected Councils at least as much as local farmers, retailers, developers, winegrowers, motel operators or environmentalists.

In Napier, Pat Magill, through the Napier Pilot City Trust, has been perhaps the leading advocate trying to get his Council to front up to its social well-being responsibilities. On Wednesday, he makes a presentation to the Napier City Council on the subject, and raises issues with respect to the failures of the Maraenui Urban Renewal Trust. [Here is his presentation: Napier Offers Hope.] In this, he has the support of BayBuzz.

As we get into the election year, it will be fair to ask of Councillors and candidates: What is your view of the nature and extent of responsibility Councils hold with respect to promoting the social well-being of the community … and particularly with respect to incumbents, what have you done to meet that responsibility?

Tom Belford

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2 Comments

  1. Good on Pat Magill. Only natural Pat's submission to Council would of upset Mayor Barbara. The truth always hurts!

    Without any doubt, Napier sure would be the poorer without the likes of the Pat Magils of this world.

  2. On the odd occassion, from long experience and concern for our enviorement, or for the betterment of all sections of our community, one has to "spit the dummy out of frustration"

    "I spat the dummy" , when I resigned from the Local Lottery Committee late last year.,(although my 3 year term was, up,,M.P Chris Tremain intimated to me, he had "batted for me:" for a further 3 years..

    Right now we have a government bringing down draconian legislation to what they feel is crime prevention.3 Strikes, Private Prisons Double Bunking, No Parole,-(all U,S.A imported )

    From a Napier angle, one has to ask the question, " Are the social networks of a small city like Napier, capable of preventing many from its community ending up in a prison, or a mental health statastic, or a wanted face displayed in a local newspaper.?

    To address this problem over the past 40 years successive governments have instigated select committees to study the problem, to include violent offending, and prisons.

    Napier has well responded with collective submissions, in person,and in written form, to the various select committees –

    Now for, the real news in response ," Some short reply to the effect,"thanks for your trouble", "we will be in touch",- but never any further response ",(even after buring the midnight oil for weeks to collect relevant information for the select committee)

    OR if you go to Parliament to follow up as to "where to now to our submission,"?– you discover to your amazement, -never any agreement as the various ministers are fighting amonst themselves, 9The late ombudsman John Belgave, when Secretary for Justice, assisted my delima, by suggesting , "votes take precedence over policy.)" .

    Now we come the previous Labour Governments model of Crime Prevention to support Napier;s Maraenui Urban Renewal Plan.

    The Crime Preventation Strategy was a copy "with a little spin" from a U.K, model.(failed in the U.K " was top down driven)

    Non Government Agencies relevant to Maraenui were not consulted. The Staff appointed had no community expertise to share any positive "warm fuzzy" with Maraenui, itself.

    And yet another stop start govt funded initiative, doomed to fail and further destroy "the mana" of effective community networkeers

    (Most of our taxpayer money is wasted on prisons, bootcamps and 3 strikes, all retributive justice that further divdies our communites ).

    Effective earlier intervention community networkers, are demoted, as Police and Prisons absorb billions of taxpayer money to treat mainly effects.

    The Maraenui Urban Renewal concept has to continue "if Napier offers hope ".but this time, the community of Maraenui, Kaumatua, Whanau Ora with Local and Central Governemnt as partners , are the blueprint for the future.

    (For Bay Buzz readers per email I will copy a paper by Wellington Criminologist Dr. Trevor Bradley" Intervention Logic, Evidence Based Policy and Transformation-Based Crime Control in New Zealand ,as to N.Z Crime Prevetion logic ( and the drivng force behind MURP ). email me at .p.magill@slingshot.co.nz

    Tom keep at our bureaucrats,, collectively Napier and Hastings ,(if they want to) can keep many of our kids around us in our communities,, by changing our own mindsets towards prisons,-as places of degredation, that mainly further harden attitudes of failure and "not wanted as human beings " in our community

    The majority of books in the Robson Collection, (housed in the Napier Public Library,.agree,) cohesive and understood communities can assist to prevent anti social behaviour

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