We do!

Way back on September 27 (2011), in an interview on Newstalk ZB, Mayor Arnott committed herself and the Napier City Council to the study of the region’s performance as set forth by the Regional Council.

She even “definitely” committed $$ to the project.

Here’s a recording of Mayor Arnott’s remarks. [Make sure your audio is on.]

On November 23rd, Deputy Mayor Kathie Furlong re-committed the Napier Council to the study after a presentation by A Better Hawke’s Bay.

And here’s the wording of a press release issued by Mayor Arnott’s office on behalf of all the region’s political leaders on November 28th:

“The Mayors, Chair and Chief Executives of the 5 Hawke’s Bay Councils have agreed to undertake a study of Hawke’s Bay’s economic and social performance and how to improve this. An analysis of the issues, priorities and processes will identify the problems and how they might be solved.  The solutions may lie across a raft of different sectors, including local government.

“Terms of Reference have been broadly agreed by the group and will be drawn up by the Chief Executives.  The joint group of Mayors, Chair and Chief Executives will commission a highly qualified, respected, independent person to oversee the study.  This person will be appointed early in the new year. [BayBuzz italics]

“We envisage a robust examination of the Hawke’s Bay issues and all the leaders are committed to this work.”

Finally in December Mayor Arnott indeed signed off on detailed terms of reference for the study, along with the region’s three other mayors and Regional Council Chair Fenton Wilson.

But then apparently collective amnesia set upon Napier’s elected officials … maybe too much Christmas sugar affecting the brain.

So on January 25th the NCC met again — in public excluded session — to re-consider the matter. The rumours arising from that session have been that the Mayor and Council are planning to renege on withdraw their commitment.

Vicious, unfounded rumours I’m sure!

[Maybe you want to listen to the Mayor’s radio clip again.]

So now, on February 22nd, the commitment of Mayor Arnott and her Council will be put to the final test, when the Council will once again consider the matter … whether in open or closed session is still unclear. [Of course that in itself — a secret meeting to discuss whether a study of HB’s performance should proceed — is ridiculous on its face. What state secret is at risk here?!]

On February 22nd, Mayor Arnott and her Councillors might decide to scuttle the ship … erasing five months of expectations that a project to benefit the entire Bay will go forward with unanimous support.

What would that reveal to us about the dysfunction of local governance in Hawke’s Bay?!

Or, they could decide to be a team player after all for the betterment of Hawke’s Bay … and prove the rumour mongers wrong.

Tom Belford

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