Last week, A Better Hawke’s Bay formally submitted its reorganisation proposal to the Local Government Commission.

This action set in motion a process that in a matter of months will officially present to Hawke’s Bay a fundamental choice about its future governance — status quo and muddling along versus unified leadership behind a more compelling vision for the Bay.

At this point, it’s hard to predict exactly when that choice will land in our laps. Therefore, it might be safest to assume that our local body elections in October will be ‘business as usual’, in that candidates will be standing once again for the seats that now exist in our region’s five councils. And there are plenty of them — 49 councillors and four mayors.

Those unsatisfied with local government ‘business as usual’ are already discussing new candidates who will stand — possibly as a ticket — as advocates of reorganization. Their focus is on the Regional Council and the Napier Council, where current councillors’ opposition to reorganization is most centered.

But that’s not the only political dynamic gathering force.

At the same time, there’s increasing disenchantment with the region’s handing of environmental issues — most notably (but not limited to) the unaddressed environmental impacts of a $600 million dam in Central Hawke’s Bay, fracking, and more broadly, the impacts of major oil and gas development in the region. Many believe the Regional Council, where these issues come to roost, has been wrong-headed, if not duplicitous, in its handling to date of these issues.

And surrounding all of those resource issues is the perhaps even mightier emotive concern over precisely who is going to wind up owning and exploiting the Bay’s  — i.e., the public’s — precious natural assets. There’s an issue for 2013!

And so, just as with amalgamation, advocates of a clean and safe environmental future for Hawke’s Bay are also surfacing candidates, with their focus being the Regional Council.

Bring these two forces together, both wanting — above all else — change of direction, and one might suggest 2013 does not look like an especially propitious election year for incumbents … especially those on the Regional Council.

For Hawke’s Bay incumbents, the clock is already ticking. A ‘business as usual’ local election in 2013 will be anything but business as usual.

Tom Belford

P.S. And for Hastings candidates — both for the District Council and the Hastings constituency of the Regional Council — add to this stew the cayenne pepper of fluoride — whose presence in Hastings’ drinking water will be put to referendum in October on that district’s ballot.

Very strong convictions propel the opponents of fluoride, who, more so than fluoride advocates, will be intensely motivated to vote in 2013. My sense of the politics of those voters is that they hold no enduring affection for the councillors who have been at the controls, especially when it comes to environmental matters. One more factor working against the status quo.

Join the Conversation


  1. Tom, yes it will be a most interesting year. With so much at stake, the ABHB meeting that preceded our application was most informative. Rarely has HB seen a standing room only event to address any and all concerns regarding the region’s governance. Amongst the audience were a large number of councillors from both the HDC and HBRC–none from the NCC. This was particularly disappointing as their self-proclaimed “spokesman” on all issues regarding amalgamation had confirmed he would be there but failed to turn up! It was regrettable that Mr Dalton resiled from attending as he would have learnt a lot.

    Not to be outdone, the minor blogger posted a summation of the meeting from Mr Robyn Gwynn who ensured he was in the front row. In a posting headed The Elephants Have A Ball he lambasted each speaker for not sharing the opinions of the negative mob who have proven to be the problem and not the solution. He obviously came prepared to shoot down the various Elephants but failed miserably, as either his gun was spiked or he was only firing blanks. Despite at least a dozen requests for questions from the floor, Mr Gwynn kept his head down and chose not to ask a single question. Perhaps that was because most of the information that forms the bulk of our submission was sourced from the Winder report, requested from our 5 councils, which backs up our claims 100%. Of particular note is the massive savings that will accrue and which Mr Dalton et al have either failed to understand, or, have not taken the time to even read the report that they, themselves requested.

    It is very, very clear that they absolute hate the fact that $25 million can be saved by the local residents. They, of course deliberately mislead their employees by stating ad nauseam that a successful amalgamation will not save an money, but indeed, will cost more to operate! This, despite the fact that Napier residents have saved 10’s millions since the Taradale amalgamation and Auckland 100’s millions–in the first 2 years alone.

    Lawrence Yule was able to confirm that he had, only that morning spoken with the the Auckland Council CEO, who confirmed that the savings were even higher than budgeted for and that projected rate increases were to be lower than previously expected. This is the sort of good positive news Mr Dalton and his acolytes do not wish to be published. It is little wonder that Mr Gwynns opinion article was never published by HB Today. It is after all factually untrue.

    He further opined that we should all support the 15 [unnamed] members of DAD, or Dick and Dalton, or, as one wag put it, Dad and Dave, to get the necessary signatures for a referendum. Well, he must have missed the announcement from the Chair that ABHB would indeed support any and all groups to accomplish this task.

    Indeed I look forward to sitting at a table in Emerson Street with my old mate Mr Dalton to ensure that this occurs. After all it is our duty to save the current naysayers from themselves for our sake too. Only a referendum will accomplish this.

    Not to be outdone, Mr Nash and Mr Richardson of Recess Monkey opined with their own take of the meeting. Both have insuperable difficulty in seeing the flaws in their vague theory on what is best for the Bay.

    Like Messers Dalton and Gwynn, neither wants the truth to get in the way of their desperate stories and their support for the status quo. Again, neither opted to ask a single question, despite repeated invitations by the Chair to do so.

    What does that tell those that were present?

    Those that I spoke to all said the same thing — they cannot possibly be taken seriously and it is clear they have no clothes.

    They all had an opportunity to take our presentation apart, but failed to even lift their hand when the time came for questions.

    Now they try, unsuccessfully, to snipe from the sidelines–truly pathetic.

  2. In reply to John J Harrison: you are not telling the truth John. The chairperson at the meeting you refer to made it quite clear that it was not a public meeting, but a meeting for supporters of “A Better Hawkes Bay” only. While I am not a supporter, I did remain at the meeting to hear what was said, although some did leave after the chairperson’s comment. There was less information given than had been in the pamphlet ABHB distributed. One person who asked that he not be photographed by the newspaper photographer was rewarded with the comment “Throw him out” from another attendee.
    Any non-supporter of ABHB would not have signed the attendance sheet sent around because it was stated that names from the sheet would be added to the list of supporters. To comment on Bill Dalton’s failure to ask questions (“despite repeated invitations by the chair to do so”) shows how loose you are with facts, given that you have already stated that Mr Dalton was not present. I did not ask any questions because I assumed from the chair’s comment about the meeting being for supporters only that my questions would not be answered. Mr Nash and Mr Gwynn did not speak, presumably for the same reason. One of my questions would have been about the presence of Mr Yule, given that the changes to the Local Body Act prevent local councils from campaigning on the issue of restructuring.

  3. Ian, you are quiet correct. My finger must have slipped when mentioning an individual who was not there.
    However, you are incorrect in assuming only supporters could ask questions. That was not the case.
    Lawrence Yule had every right to be there and offer his analysis of the situation, just as 2 regional councillors did on the night.

  4. The stars seem aligned for A Better Hawke’s Bay’s amalgamation proposal.

    The Local Government Act has been amended so their proposal could be accepted and imposed without referendum. (10% of all registered voters need to sign a petition requesting referendum)

    The two super novas in ascendence are: The honorable Chris Tremain, Minister of Local Government, and Mayor Lawrence Yule, President of Local Government. Minor stars are the dishonorable (Novapay) Craig Foss, and the Minister’s brother, Simon Tremain. Foss has aligned himself with ABHB and Simon is a major player.

    Be interested to hear what others think but it looks like a coup d’etat to me.

  5. About time someone stated the obvious Mark. Despite the cries of “democracy in action” from the coup planners, it is everything but. The legislation denies the right of each affected area to decide it’s own future. Napier has an MP who has turned on his own electorate. Perhaps he is intending to make it on the “list” in 2014, he will certainly be prominent on some lists.
    A very interesting facet of the “coup” you mention is that only one district Mayor is pushing it and when one looks at the comparative performance of his administration measured against the others, there is cause for real concern if one is hoping for a financially secure future for the region.

  6. Excellent retort Ian, Harrison was always an acolyte of ‘big is better’ though not necessarily when it came to improving democratic representation; mind you what can one expect from a member of ACT.
    Hawkes Bay needs to look at doing things better and collectively, whilst in Council I certainly supported the late Jeremy Dwyer QSM on that point; though clearly there needed to be a lot of work to be done in ensuring local democracy was exactly that and barriers were not created that would ultimately allow Hawkes Bay’s landed oligarchy almost complete control.
    The irony of that of course is that the muppets in the Regional Council have shown how bad local governance can in fact be!
    I certainly support Lawrence’s drive for amalgamation, but the focus should be on the Regional Council and the two smaller authorities firstly; one being bloated and incompetent, the other two in needed to wider support to serve their communities in the manner they would like.
    Mind you as Ian interestingly points out, Lawrence may be heading to Wellington in another form; but let’s be honest that rumour has been around for years and the leadership of the old farming Tories have been well and trully replaced by a bunch of ‘bankers’…..

  7. Dean, you are correct, I do believe’ big is better’. So do 90% of ratepayers when it comes to the amalgamation of local authorities.
    Name one that should be de-amalgamated as a result of amalgamation over the past 100 years.
    Neither the local body, nor central government politicians involved from all political stripes agree with you.
    You are showing a lack of knowledge and ignorance simply suggesting that ABHB look at only the HBRC, CHBDC and the WDC re amalgamation. You cannot be just a little bit pregnant, the region as a whole must be addressed from day one.
    Regarding representation, the Auckland council has one councillor for every 79,000 residents plus local boards. ABHB’s proposal is one for every 10,000 plus local boards.
    Would you wish one for every 1,000 or the status quo of one for every 3,000. Either way both are simply untenable and unnecessary in today’s climate.
    You only have to view the meeting agenda of the NCC to note that nearly 25% of the meetings to be held are cancelled due to the lack of items to be discussed.
    The days of “make work schemes” that trade unionists love are well and truly over.
    Thank goodness for that.

  8. NEWS FLASH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Advised over a wonderful long lunch at a stunning winery in the Hastings District the names of the 15 members of DAD [Dad and Dave’s army]
    In addition to the “founders” Messers Dick and Twigg the other 13 are Mayor Arnott and her 12 obediant councillors.
    No wonder they did not wish their names to be published!

  9. John, your last post is astounding! Are you implying that there are only 15 people in all of Hawkes Bay who believe in Democracy? I do not believe it!

  10. Yet again you are wrong John Harrison! There are 3 not 12 Napier City Councillors on the founding committee of DAD HB – and yes I’m one of the 3. We have created DAD HB and are signatories as private individuals, not elected Councillors, because we are passionate that all HB residents must have a say on this important issue – whether pro- or anti-amalgamation, or whether any amalgamation will be of 2, 3, 4 or all 5 existing Councils. The fact is the National Government have thrown this most basic democratic right out the window with the Local Govt Act reforms last year. The ONLY way the people of HB will have a say is when a petition is lodged by approximately 5,000 HB people – which DAD HB is the pre-cursor for.

    As for the ABHB ‘launch’, it was made crystal clear to us (NCC elected reps) that it was an invite-only meeting & therefore we didn’t ‘crash’ the meeting because we weren’t invited. Robin Gwynn, also a founding member of DAD HB, was present at that meeting & asked if he should leave when it was made clear it was in fact a ‘private’ not ‘public’ meeting. No surprises there were HB Regional Council reps as well as Mayor Yule & other Hastings reps present at that meeting, but how dare you and ABHB perpetuate your self-created myth that we in Napier are all “compliant councillors” or that we haven’t read the Winder Report Part I let alone understand the contents of it, while we await the more substantive Part II. Given that ABHB are selectively quoting from that report is further proof that what you are accusing anti-amalgamationists of, you are actually doing yourselves, ie, misquoting, misrepresenting and missing the point!

    So to Mr Harrison and any other ABHB members; please contact myself or Bill Dalton if you wish to make good on your stated position that you will support the preservation of HB people’s democratic right to a poll on any local govt changes by becoming a member of DAD HB. I’ve already asked Mayor Yule (who hasn’t said either no or yes, but has at least teased me with his $2 membership in his hand!) and Deputy Mayor Cynthia Bowers (who said no, outright) and am happy to ask any other ABHB supporter too – unless of course ABHB are comfortable with the thought that an undemocratic take-over of the entire region is the way to achieve their goal (read: hostile take-over equals a hollow victory)?

  11. For anyone interested in the preservation of local government democracy, the following Q&As from DAD HB (Dedicated and Democratic HB);

    1 Why should I join the HB Democratic Action Association Inc.?
    To demand a democratic vote.

    2 Why have concerned citizens formed this group at this time?
    The Local Government Amendment Act 2012, removes your right to vote on Local Government reform.

    3 Does this Act give us the right to have a referendum?
    No! The New Zealand Electoral Commission can impose a new form of Local Government on you. The only way to have a vote is to undertake an electoral petition signed by a minimum of 10% of those on the electoral roll in any one electorate in the target area. But if a referendum is then held, the results will be binding.

    4 Why is it important that an electoral petition be undertaken?
    To ensure a referendum.

    5 Why is it important that a referendum be held?
    To give you a vote on any proposal for Local Government reform. Failure to consult you by way of a referendum will deny you a say in how you are governed at a local level.

    6 How can joining DAD help preserve democracy?
    DAD is determined to build a membership base. It will show the Electoral commission the wide ranging support for the democracy in our community. The data base will enable us to keep you informed. Most importantly, it will ensure that a successful electoral petition will force a referendum.

    7 Will DAD undertake an Electoral Petition?
    Yes! That is our purpose.

    8. Will there be a role for DAD after the petition?
    Yes. With your feedback DAD will submit on any proposal.

  12. Much as they deny it, it is patently clear (as the nose on their Pinnocio faces!) That from the latest epistle, the only ones panicking are the unemployable with unlimited amounts time on their hands.

    Democracy my arse! If they were to be honest, and up front, they would admit they are solely against ANY form of amalgamation purely and simply at the thought of losing their council appearance money.

    Talking of appearance money…near three years on and what relief has Ms Pyke managed to achieve for the leaseholders she pretends to represent? And apart from being a nodding head in adopting the mayor’s, ceo’s and council officers’ recommendations, exactly what New policy has Mr Dalton individually managed to introduce? ZERO!

    Amalgamation of the councils makes sense. That will automatically equate to saving for ALL ratepayers. I believe the compliant deadwood should put all ratepayers and Hawke’s Bay First! Not themselves!

    It’s about savings to ALL the ratepayers, quality not quantity!

  13. What is it about “politics” that brings out the vicious side of people’s characters. Surely an argument could be based on the facts without the need for profanity and character assassination?
    David gives no data to back up his assertion that amalgamation “will automatically equate to savings for all ratepayers”. On the other hand, the organisation called “A Better Hawkes Bay” recently commissioned a telephone poll of 1000 voters in Hastings District, Central Hawkes Bay, Wairoa and Napier. Surprisingly, only 15% of Hastings District voters were happy with the way their council was performing, and 75% wanted some sort of change ! In Wairoa and Napier 47% did not see the need for any change in their councils!
    What on earth is the Hastings District Council doing to rank so low in the eyes of their voters? Perhaps the question should be “what are they not doing?” The rest of Hawkes Bay will undoubtably be asking “Do we want that organisation, with such a dismal approval rating, involved in running any other part of Hawkes Bay?”
    Look at the facts, David.

  14. Hawke’s Bay has a population group which identifies primarily with their community (in my case Te Awanga) and secondly with the region. This group has never bought into the bickering between Hastings and Napier because it simply has no relevance to the reality we live in.

    It includes people who work in the wider Hastings District and live in the wider Napier District and vice versa who see the benefits of borrowing a library book in Napier and returning it to Hastings; licencing our dog in Havelock and it not being a headache if we then move to Taradale; installing a fireplace in Pirimai and giving advice on council pricing and compliance requirements to a friend in Flaxmere.

    From where we sit five councils complicating these basic functions doesn’t represent democracy or a better service.

    If we stay with the issue of the best operating structure for a region – rather than personalities – each individual and the region as a whole will benefit by the discussion.

    These people can also see that councilors will be elected on past efforts, their attitudes and their vision for our future.

    Michelle Pyke is one of the hardest working and most committed councilors I have ever interacted with; the benefits I have witnessed from her efforts over the years have no bearing on whether we have different opinions on how to achieve the best for our people.

    The focus is on achieving the best for our people.

  15. Thank you Ian and Megan. Perhaps Tom Belford/Bay Buzz should screen out the bloggers who only wish to contribute destructive personality politicking on any of these issues, ie, former elected reps who lost their seats because people had had enough of their ‘style’ of politics and voted them out!

    Megan – re the points you raise; NCC and HDC are currently working towards harmonising our respective District Plans where possible so people in either city will know that the rules on dogs, noise control, buildings etc. are the same. We already work together on over 30 shared services – many invisible on a day-to-day basis but others that are visible – and if we can harmonise our District Plans & all the ‘rules’ within them, we will be achieving precisely what our communities want without the cost & disruption of a full-on amalgamation.

    As for Mr Bosley’s ‘attack’ on my alleged lack of representation for Napier’s leaseholders; just how is ONE councillor supposed to do that, especially as I have a very obvious conflict of interest as my own family home is leasehold? Remember Bos, there are 13 of us on our Council – it’s called democracy! And although ‘my’ leaseholders are still suffering with over-valued land valuations & exhorbitant rent increases as well as freeholding prices, it’s the HB Regional Council that has 600 of these leases still while NCC has approximately 30 of us left. Of course on the wishlist of the pro-amalgamationists these leases & their income would no doubt be claimed by Hastings as being their entitlement somehow?? despite the fact that the rental income & freeholding revenue from them was solely intended to develop Napier, not the region, through the former HB Harbour Board from pre-1931 earthquake until 1989 when the Harbour Boards were dissolved & the Regional Councils were created. And I don’t recall Mr Bosley EVER representing Napier leaseholders when he was on NCC, save perhaps one Westshore leaseholder who’s position is unique & not the same as the rest of us.

  16. Meg.your observations are correct. Correct too is your comment re Mrs Pike–although not all agree with her stance on various issues.

    The fact is that if the LGC accept the proposal from ABHB the very best 6 will represent the Napier ratepayers on a united council. May the best man or woman succeed.
    ABHB is on record as being very willing to assist DAD and its 15 unnamed members solicit the required number of signatures to ensure a referendum on the amalgamation issue. I, for one, look forward to be sitting at a table in Emerson street between Mr Dalton and Mrs Pike in the near future, even if I will be the rose between two thorns!

    However, residents need to be fully aware as to the advantages/disadvantages of the LGC proposal. To that end it has been a real eye-opener speaking to various service clubs and their guests over recent weeks. Many more are to follow.

    In all cases to date we have spoken at their request and after Mr Dalton of DAD has already had his opportunity to lead his with his negative stance on advancing the Bay and promoting the status quo as the only option going forward this century. Questions have been mainly confined to shared services, savings on rates and, of all things, the Queensland experience!

    The shared services is a non-issue as confirmed by both the Winder report and the public comments from the HBRC CEO. The NCC supported and approved the appointment of Winder so it can hardly run away from his findings, on this and other issues that they now disagree with. The fact is that he has proffered a truthful and extensive report on what ails the region and the benefits of supporting the ABHB model. On the question of shared services he notes: “There has been very little progress of this nature between the Hawke’s Bay councils”. Further, “It is unlikely that the region could secure the potential benefits of shared services without a major and enduring commitment from both political leaders and Chief Exectives”.

    The CEO of the HBRC follows this with his public comments ” That shared services have been patchy at best [in HB]. In other words “all Hui and no doey”.

    Indeed, the report itself is a great example of the dysfunctional nature of our so-called “leaders” agreeing to anything. After all it took them 5 months to simply agree on the author for the independent study and the terms of reference. That never fails to get a laugh at every venue we have attended over the last two months.
    Worse, shared services–if ever instigated, would save a paltry $3 million instead of the $25 million with full amalgamation.

    Unbelievably, Mr Dalton continues to state as a fact that full amalgamation would not only cost more, but substantially so. He is clearly ignorant of the substantial savings his own council made and continues to make with the amalgamation of Taradale and Napier, ditto Hastings and Havelock North.

    He also is being deliberately deceitful in suggesting the Auckland amalgamation did not provide huge, and on-going savings to their ratepayers. In the first 18 months the savings were in the hundreds of millions [ as confirmed byn Audit NZ ] and indeed, the savings going into the future are way in excess of those previously budgeted–as evidenced via an extensive e-mail presented at the Waipukurau Rotary Club meeting.

    What was interesting at this meeting was that the CHB Mayor who attended with all his councillors and CEO took umbrage at the ABHB proposal and amalgamation in general. I asked him to name just one example of a NZ amalgamation being unsuccessful since NZ became a Dominion.


    So I asked him a second time.


    At that stage the President closed the meeting, saving the Mayor from any further embarrassment.

    At another meeting in CHB attended by over 100 residents we were asked about the disastrous amalgamation undertaken in Queensland. Queensland? Yes, as a result of not being able to produce a single example of an unsuccessful amalgamation in NZ, Mr Dalton has gone around the province preaching fire and brimstone of the failure in Australia–or so he said.

    The fact is that this was another case of telling porkies to scare the horses.
    We were prepared with the facts, which of course were unhelpful to DAD and their spokesman.

    So for those interested, here is the factual background to the successful amalgamation of local authorities in that state.

    The Queensland State government committed itself to a collaborative reform program with the Queensland Local Government Association [LGAQ] and its member councils, but then suddenly withdrew from this process and embarked on a radical program of structural reform involving forced council amalgamations statewide.

    Of course people were rightly upset and appalled at being dictated to from Brisbane when they understood that they would be fully consulted, polled and given a vote by way of referendum as to boundaries, etc–as is the case in NZ today.
    But that was the course of action the Labor Premier Beattie took and that is what eventuated. On 27 July 2007 the Commission recommended Queenslands’ 156 councils be reduced to 72, 32 Aboriginal and island councils reduced to 14, and as a result 724 fewer elected council representatives.

    The recommendations divided Queensland mayors, and sparked angry campaigns and protests against reform. Some affected councils proposed to hold referendums on amalgamation with threats of dismissal if they went ahead. The Opposition leader Jeff Seeney, pledged to de-amalgamate councils with community support by way of a poll if they came to office.

    In September 2007 Premier Beattie resigned from the Queensland Parliament, and, under the new Premier, Anna Bligh, on March 15 2008, local government elections were held successfully, and on this date the Local Government Reform Commission’s recommended local government areas came into being across the whole of Queensland.

    Because the boundary lines were drawn up in Brisbane there were 4-5 errors regarding community of interest, ie some towns were literally 400-500 kilometers from the seat of council, thus they were de-amalgamated.

    Two years ago when Bligh was trounced at the polls by the Liberal party who promised to de-amalgamate the whole state, what happened? Nothing.

    The reason being, that apart from a few de-amalgamations the whole process was an outstanding success and the people wanted the amalgamations retained, as they still are today.

    It would pay for DAD to ensure that their spokesman is required to tell the truth on such matters affecting amalgamation if they want to retain any credibility at all in the community.

  17. I have looked, as a matter of fact, I have studied the recently released Set Of Audited Accounts, since Auckland became a Super City, and the savings to the ever flogged hard pressed ratepayers run into many millions of dollars! For your edification Ian, as you appear to be passionate about our beautiful region Hawke’s Bay, it might pay for you to check out the “real” facts.

    Likes of that, along with what was reportedly stated by the CEO of the Auckland Council on the very matter.

    An independently set of audited accounts are the facts Ian.

    Now I see in Proudly Napier where Mayor Barbara is using ratepayers (not her own) money, to encourage the good people of Napier to join -sign up to Ms Pyke’s DAD group. Yet some years ago (just before CEO Taylor) a former councillor, who once used a council franked envelope, to pay a personal bill, was rightfully called to account by the CEO to FULLY explain. Which was classed as corrupt and serious misuse of council funds.

    Now, surely Mayor Barbara, Mr Massey and CEO Taylor have blatant conflicts of interests and should do some explaining! Not to mention the the Art Deco bus debacle!! To take visitors over the Hill to Ahuriri to where 2 sitting NCC councilors own and operate watering holes — Cr Price @ the Thirsty Whale and Cr Herbert @ The East Pier.

    Yet when I was on Council, because I owned and operated a holiday home on Marine Parade and was heavily involved in fundraising for the new Marine Parade pools, it was claimed (by persons unknown) I had contravened the Members Conflict of Interest Act, for which I was fully investigated by the Controller & Auditor Generals Office, and was subsequently cleared of any wrong doing. If the Mayor & Massey, Herbert and Price are exempt from the rules of member conflicts of interest, it clearly shows there one set of rules for some and NONE for others.

  18. Please be specific David. Which set of “audited accounts” are you referring to, because there are several versions around, as well as many vague claims by various people.

  19. Well David, no help from you to find the evidence for your claim “savings to the ever flogged hard pressed ratepayers run into many millions of dollars.” Like you, I have studied the 2011/2012 Annual Report for Auckland City, vol 1 (306 pages); vol 2 (312 pages); vol 3 (244 pages) and the summary (66 pages) and nowhere can I find a comparison between actual figures as certified by the auditor and the figures that “might have been” had no amalgamation taken place. So what were you writing about when you urged me to check out the “real facts” in the “recently released Set of Audited Accounts”? I am not going to carp about the deficit of $198 million when the budget forecast was for a surplus of $212 million before tax. The reasons were well explained on page 133-134 of volume 3. So just where is your “information” coming from? Your imagination? Disraeli was right about “Lies, damned Lies and Statistics”, we still haven’t even got as far as the statistics, apparently.

  20. Tom, I believe the full quotation is something like: “There are none so blind as those who do not want to see.” Makes more sense, don’t you think?

  21. What is happening with the Napier based lobby group DAD?

    First their troika of Dick, Dalton and Twigg appear at their launch of 15 members and state, not once but no less than 5 times, that they are not anti-amalgamation. Mr Dick was good enough last week to once again give this assurance of not being an anti-amalgamation group.

    Now, refreshed from yet another holiday in the U.S. Mr Dalton appears not to have read the memo!
    His latest contribution to the amalgamation debate is the tired and negative stance of the status quo mob [ie, his council’s stance], writing that everyone should vote no to amalgamation.

    Clearly, there is despair writ large and running deep in this divided organization.

    How can he proffer such advise when he has absolutely no idea whatsoever what the LGC will eventually determine as being the basis for such a referendum? Little wonder that the Dad and Dave joke is continuing to run, for the enjoyment of all concerned.

    Better, I believe for him to spend his time explaining why the Massey affair, with losses of jobs and buildings, is considered “not a major issue.” With most local watering holes having copies of the liquidators report available for their thirsty patrons and highlighting the disgraceful comments from our city’s so-called leaders on this issue, this is generating more heat and discussion than the antics of a deeply divided DAD and their strange pronouncements.

  22. John,
    How much has the new Auckland city IT system cost the residents and ratepayers of that new super city?

    Around $750m – and climbing I believe: and that’s just for the IT system, let alone other costs associated with amalgamation. Call that savings? Not in my book.!

    Come on, you know the difference between capital costs and operational costs. The capital cost of the Akld merger has been HUGE.!

    You are a succesful businessman so you should know better than most that touting figures without any data to back them up is disingenuous. To claim that amalgamation will save HB $25m is not right when Winder said ‘between $3m and $25m. Personally, I don’t think amalgamation will go ahead, but on the off-chance it does, I doubt there would be any cost saving, and the capital costs will wipe out any savings for 20 years.

    Just be upfront about this John, because if you think cost saving is a significant reason for amalgamation, then your argument is pretty flimsy.

  23. Stuart, well that came out of the blue !
    What I wanted to know is what is happening to DAD ?
    Apparently no one knows who is running the cutter or what they now stand for.
    Very confusing indeed!
    However, to address your concerns re the AKL computer system, then that is easily answered.
    When 8 disparate councils are merged with 8 different systems, then of course there will need to be a master system in place. More so when 5 of the old systems were due for replacement anyway.
    Not helping was “Red Len’s” inappropriate change to the city-wide system of rating (ie from land based to property based).
    No doubt you have all the details about this change–so you will understand the complexity and change in systems that this involved.
    You are also aware that Winder gave a wide range in H.B. savings, depending on whether any amalgamation involved all 5 councils or merely a sharing of services.
    Like you, I understand that you can not be a little bit pregnant!
    Indeed, with a little bit of common business sense the savings of $25 million should be greatly improved upon.
    That however is only one of many reasons why the residents will vote for a change in local body governance in H.B.
    All of the above presupposes that the LGC will actually find that the ABHB proposal is worthy of consideration.
    We all look forward to receiving your alternate proposal.
    It may well be that your proposal, whatever that is, will form the basis of their favoured option.
    Now it is up to you to put forward what you see as the best alternative.
    May the best man win.

  24. On March 15th both ABHB and DAD received a request to field 3 speakers each for a debate on amalgamation before members of the Hawke’s Bay–Gisgorne Planners Group to be held at the Napier officers of Opus.
    ABHB replied within 24 hours advising that we had a team of 3 ready and waiting to meet the DAD team.
    Two weeks later we were advised by the sponsers that DAD would be unable to provide 3 members but would have instead Stuart Nash to represent them Thus we were limited to one representative–me.
    As the planners had already advertised the event as a debate on amalgamation the event was a sell-out with standing room only.
    Stuart rose at the commencement of the debate that he was not representing DAD but only as a concerned citizen to the issue.
    It took on more of an election campaign from there on.
    Stuart, presented his position well. He is for the status quo, supporting the retention of all 5 councils and 1 councillor for every 3,000 people in the Bay. He emphasised the importance of shared services to support his argument.
    I took the opposite tack of supporting our amalgamation proposal to the LGC [ since accepted] and the reasons why. Also, highlighting the failure of the shared services model since the councils were reformed in 1989.
    It was a lively and informative debate for the audience who asked a number of thoughtful questions at the end.
    The recurring question over drinks was “where were DAD”.
    after all they had a full month to arrange only 3 speakers from their 15 member steering committee and their[ supposed] 600 supporters.
    It is clear that either they do not have the supporters that they advertise, or, are too frightened to face a debate against ABHB.
    Either way they well and truley earned the cockney monikor “all mouth and no trousers.”

  25. Tom, I am very upset, distraught and generally p—ed off at not being recognized by the NCC minor blogger.
    This week he has thanked both Rebecca Turner and David Marshall of ABHB for being responsible for an improvement in the hits on his website.
    What about me?
    For months I have personally been accessing his site for the light relief it offers. More importantly I have actively been encouraging my friends to do likewise.
    It brings one back to the day when we were a lot, lot younger and enjoyed the fairy tales written by that wonderful author, Enid Blyton.
    Now it must be acknowledged that Mr Dalton is not a modern day Enid Blyton, but the fairy stories are never ending. Unfortunately they are also liberally laced with pure vindictiveness and malice to anyone who dares to have an opinion which he opposes in his run for the mayoralty of Napier.
    So, although enjoyable for many, the blog he spends so much time on is a cross between the aforementioned Enid Blyton and Michael Laws.
    Even the latter never stooped to the levels that Mr Dalton is now descending to gain attention and name recognition.

  26. The thought struck me when looking at the diverse contributions on Baybuzz — “the good, the bad, and the (only on a few occasions) a bit ugly”. Overdue to give give DAD (Bill Dalton), a rest, as becoming a bit boring.
    Tom Belford is well overdue to be elected to the H.B R.C. for his steadfastness, passion, transparency, aroha toward our province of H.B.
    Last local body election, Tom ruffled the feathers of a few (who I term as entrenched, do little H.B “arse sitters”).
    Our planet urgently now needs and deserves “friends; the likes of Tom Belford.

  27. last year I had a bet with my neighbour and friend Larry Dallimore that the next election would be for a region wide council.
    It appears I was overly optimistic and 18 months early.
    As a result I have today paid the sum of $1,000 to the winner and learnt a salutary lesson.
    Spend it wisely Larry !

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