BayBuzz is reporting from two planets today.

“We’re sacked.” From Planet Surreal, Kevin Atkinson so announced that he and the HB Health Board had just been axed by Health Minister Cunliffe, who replaced these alleged miscreants with a Commissioner.

All done, as best anyone can tell, to send a message that duly elected Health Board members shouldn’t mess with close friends or husbands of former Health Minister Annette King. Apparently, Labour doesn’t plan to contest for MP seats in Hawke’s Bay!

Said Atkinson: “This move is punishment for the Board’s refusal to endorse what was seen as political cronyism and chicanery and then to accept less than proper processes … the Minister’s action simply does not stack up.”

It’s probably best that Cunliffe not visit Hawke’s Bay anytime soon. Apart from the risk that he might actually be informed by such a visit, there’s the much greater danger that he might require medical care while in the territory. In which case, god have mercy on his soul.

On the other hand, much better news from Planet Ocean Beach.

Yesterday, the HB Regional Council voted unanimously* to Just Say NO! to the Hill Country development plan for Ocean Beach. Their submission opposes the plan change in its entirety, full stop.

Not only did the HBRC do what Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule has said is indefensible, they did it with gusto!

The HBRC recites numerous ways in which the plan change would contravene the Resource Management Act, as well as various regional governing policies, such as the pending Regional Coastal Environment Plan, the Regional Resource Management Plan, and the Regional Land Transport Strategy.

But legal underpinnings aside, here are some quotes from the submission that will give you a feel for their assessment in everyday terms:

“The Regional Council considers that the existing development has not compromised the overall aesthetic, ecological and intrinsic values of Ocean Beach and the natural character has not been compromised. The proposed Ocean Beach Plan Change would however change that irreparably.”

“The recommended water supply options do not take into account the physical limitations of the locality and offer no surety of water supply. As such, the Regional Council is not satisfied that the proposed water supply options are sustainable in the long term.”

“The Council is not satisfied that the proposed Ocean Beach Plan Change will lead to the ecological protection and enhancement of the area and considers that further pressure placed on the locality by an expanding permanent community may cause the failure of an already precarious ecological system.”

And one of our favorites …

“The Regional Council is concerned that the proposed Ocean Beach Plan Change will reduce the value, importance, and quality of Ocean Beach for the majority of the people in the Hawke’s Bay community.”

What a novel concept … taking heed of what the public might value! A concept apparently foreign just a few kilometers away in Planet Hastings!

Well done, HBRC.

Tom & Mark

*Less Liz Remmerswaal, who declared a conflict, having made a personal OB submission in the past.

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