BayBuzz has gotten exclusive access to a top secret Napier City Council action plan called ‘Operation Independence’.

With dozens of personnel grievances pending at NCC, it hasn’t been difficult for BayBuzz to find disgruntled employees – like Ron ‘Gingko’ Massey — eager to help pierce the wall of secrecy that usually protects Mayor Dalton, chief executive Wayne Jack and their somnambulist councillors.

Operation Independence is designed by Australian consultants (“We wanted true independence,” said CEO Jack) as Napier’s Armageddon response should amalgamation of the region proceed.

The plan includes these major elements.

Border Security

Responsibility for erecting impenetrable border fortifications has been assigned to the feisty members of the Taradale RSA. The plan calls for a wall of four metre pine poles, logged from the hills behind EIT, topped with razor wire, encircling the land boundaries of the city. Some indecision remains concerning the northern frontier of the city, as no one is quite sure where Napier ends and Hastings begins.

To protect against unwanted visitors arriving by sea, tugboats from Napier Port will be requisitioned and outfitted with heavy caliber guns and torpedoes. Rear Admiral Neville Smith will command the naval operation.

Infrastructure Investment

Part of the reason NCC seems to have ‘under-invested’ in staples like roads and sewer/stormwater lines is that planners have been squirreling money away for a calamity like amalgamation. However, this scheme has now been exposed by the Local Government Commission, corroborating what inside sources have told BayBuzz.

“We’ve been told all spending is ‘Go!’ if it relates to Operation Independence,” revealed one insider.

A ‘Top Secret’ comparison of Hastings and Napier ‘Critical Infrastructure and Amenities’ has been completed, identifying what additional facilities Napier will require once it declares independence and closes its wall. Here, in brief, is the assessment …

What Hastings and Napier both already have

  • Miniature golf
  • Art gallery
  • Movie theatres
  • Mexican food
  • Brothels
  • Cafes
  • Hockey turfs
  • Cycle paths
  • Pak ‘n Save
  • Sewage treatment plant
  • Bottled aquifer water

What Napier already has that Hastings doesn’t have
(“These are the building blocks of our independence,” proclaims Mayor Dalton. “Here is our competitive advantage.”)

  • Real airport (“If we needed one, we’d go out to Bridge Pa and build it,” retorts Mayor Lawrence Yule.)
  • Port (“If we needed one, we’d go out to Haumoana and build it,” retorts Mayor Lawrence Yule.)
  • Freedom campers
  • Functioning municipal theatre (“If we needed one, we’d go out to … uh, let me get back to you on that,” hedges Mayor Lawrence Yule.)
  • Aquarium
  • Museum
  • Yacht Club (“We’re about wakas and sculls,” sniffs Yule.)
  • EIT
  • Napier Life magazine (Ooops, no more!)
  • McLean Park
  • New ‘Business Hub’ (Say what?)
  • Pettigrew-Green arena
  • Meeanee Speedway (Mayor Dalton views this as a key strategic asset. “I’d rather give up the sewage plant,” he says.)

What Hastings has that Napier doesn’t have
(“This is the kind of stuff we’d like to add,” says Mayor Dalton.)

  • Hospital
  • Carl’s Jr
  • Black Barn Outdoor Cinema
  • More land above sea level (Operation Independence includes dikes)
  • Kmart
  • Horse racing and Horse of the Year
  • Real prison
  • Civil defense headquarters
  • Te Mata Peak
  • Outstanding sand beaches
  • Call centre
  • Prize-winning golf course
  • Landfill site
  • Food

What Napier wants that Hastings doesn’t have

  • Velodrome
  • Really big swimming pool
  • Wave pool

The costs for these urgently needed missing amenities — not roads and sewage lines — is actually what will drive NCC’s finances into a multi-million deficit … if Operation Independence is put into play. “A small price to pay for our freedom,” thunders Mayor Dalton. “Still, we will need to make some tough choices … Which does independent Napier need more – a prison, a hospital, or a Carl’s Jr?”

Unresolved Issues

BayBuzz is told that Operation Independence is a work in progress, with these strategic options still to be resolved …

How to protect Allen Dick’s Napier-Wairoa rail line (we knew there was an ulterior motive behind Councillor Dick’s rail advocacy). The rail line is vulnerable to sabotage as it runs through the treacherous northern Hastings frontier, yet it must serve as an essential emergency supply link to ally Wairoa and its bountiful feral goats.

Whether to concede the Awatoto industrial zone to Hastings. Some inside Major Dalton’s more intimate circle, led by socialite Deborah Dalliance, regard the zone as “unbecoming” to an Art Deco showpiece. However, his strategic advisors are concerned about what to do with Napier’s s**t if the Awatoto-based sewage plant is abandoned. Inside sources tell BayBuzz that contingency plans are being developed that would see Napier’s s**t dumped into the Ahuriri estuary, “along with all the rest of our crap” as one official was alleged to remark.

Moreover, keeping Awatoto and its Ravensdown plant would enable Napier to starve Hastings farmers and growers of the fertiliser to which they’ve become addicted. “All’s fair in war,” says CEO Jack.

Whether to allow non-Napier residents and businesses access to the port and airport. In an options paper shown to BayBuzz, one faction argues for a totally sealed border. “We can live off our tourism industry and import everything we need, without opening the door to terrorists or crass commercial incursions,” one Napier councillor is quoted. But others argue that imposing a toll tax on Hastings-based users of these facilities would enrich Napier beyond imagination (“They grow and make everything,” noted one councillor. “There’s no dishonor in being a parasite,” CEO Jack wrote in the margin.) and it would be the ultimate salt in the wound to a demoralised Hastings.

Whether to expel Napier residents over age 60. Mayor Dalton puts it succinctly: “Without a hospital, these old folks will become, well, deadweight. We have to think of what’s best for the many … that’s why a velodrome tops my list.”

What to do about CHB. “Cut ’em loose,” says Dalton. “We don’t need more sheep in Napier. This is about realpolitik … survival of the fittest.”

The action plans included in Operation Independence have been formulated under NCC’s little known ‘War Powers Act’ and as such will not be subject to public consultation. “This is Napier,” says CEO Jack, “Love it or leave it!”

Tom Belford

Join the Conversation


  1. Tom, as you note their are dozens of personal grievance claims mounting within the NCC.
    What however you have missed is industrial action by way of a strike scheduled for May by the NCC staff.
    All apparently is not well in Daltonland at this point in time.
    Staff have had enough of the bellicose, blundering and bull…t from both the CEO and Mayor.

  2. Tom your factual and well researched account of the inner workings of the NCC powerhouse is, as always, moving. #SomnambulistsStickTogether

  3. Tom, great article. Your informant however does not seem to have access to the “secrets within secrets” file. Specifically your heading “Whether to expel Napier residents over age 60” . Mayor Dalton’s reply hides the presence of a specially trained SaS (Stirrers and Submitters) unit within this group. Many of the personnel are well known and no-one would be surprised if they were expelled from fortified Napier. What is not well known however is that they will be equipped as suicide bombers, set to detonate when welcomed into the inner sanctums of the pro-amalgamation camp. A fiendishly clever scheme which will totally change the political landscape in both Napier and Hastings, leaving Mayor Dalton as the unchallenged leader of both cities.

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