Watching Joanne Woodward’s Oscar-winning performance in the Three Faces of Eve, we only need to sort through three contradictory personalities.

With Sam Kelt, given his multiple roles in the sports park initiative, we have a much more complicated performance to sort out, when he takes the stage on Friday before the Hastings Council.

Which face will he be wearing? Or maybe more appropriately, how many roles can he play at once, without all of us losing the plot?

There’s Sam the entrepreneur … like others in the genre, accustomed to taking big risks … operating at the edge … selling with bravado. Is this the guy to be shaping social policy for Hawke’s Bay and steering the investment of cautious ratepayers’ dollars?

There’s Sam the well-paid consultant … earning $25K a month (plus other consideration) to progress this project, making him somewhat short of objective when it comes to recommending full speed ahead.

There’s Sam the real estate investor … buying land around Nelson Park, offering to help “unload” assets made redundant by the new complex, perhaps with other interests benefitted by the park. Has Council asked him simply to formally declare otherwise, to give us all peace of mind?

There’s Sam the benefactor … supporting causes large and small, but expecting the occasional benefit, like a Council marketing subsidy for the Kelt Carnival. And expecting goodwill to prevail over cold analysis.

There’s Sam the ambassador … dispatched on behalf of Hastings Council to sell consult with area Councils, sports codes and other constituencies on the park initiative, but more inclined to “tell” than to “listen” … more disposed to talk to the national chieftains, with no local stake, than the grassroots volunteers.

There’s Sam the fundraiser … the keeper of confidential but “indicative” expressions of interest from parties unknown … parties loathe to make their generosity known, parties apparently undeterred by either the shaky economy or the expressions of disinterest from “partner” Councils.

There’s Sam the kickboxer … we won’t go there!

There’s Sam the peer reviewer … although paid to champion the project as Sam the ambassador, also expected to challenge it disinterestedly by asking tough and skeptical questions about its strategic correctness and its operational and financial viability.

There’s Sam the motivational speaker … always with a story of heart-warming redemption through sport, preferably as played at a fancy facility (which Sileni’s Graeme Avery tells us we can all drive to in our new hybrids).

Finally, there’s Sam the answer man … the guy who’s supposed to reassure Council on Friday that all is well (since, as the project is structured, HDC has no way of knowing on its own) … that the consultation’s been both broad and probing, the assumptions behind the numbers are sound, all of NZ is waiting breathlessly to invest capital in the park, our fellow councils are on board, etc.

But wait, isn’t this also Sam the entrepreneur, Sam the consultant, Sam the real estate investor. Sam the salesman. Sam the motivational speaker?

So exactly which Sam will we be hearing from on Friday? In which of his contradictory roles will he be appearing? How are we supposed to know what to believe … how to sort the facts from the razzle-dazzle? I suspect even Sam is perplexed by wearing so many faces at once.

Yes, we need answers alright. But Sam’s conflicting roles in this matter seriously compromise his ability to deliver them with the credibility this high stakes decision requires.


NEWS FLASH: HB Today reports that sports codes confirm their support for sports park. This is as remarkable as a bunch of nuns endorsing the Pope’s offer of a new convent!

Join the Conversation


  1. Thank-you Tom, I think!

    The perception of Aotearoa-NZ that many overseas people have, and indeed many Kiwi's, is of a :

    Clean & green [we are not],

    non-corrupt [we are],

    Sovereign [ we dont control this country],

    democratic [we are not] ,

    inclusive [wrong again],

    well informed [ many are ignorant],

    caring [ we have 100.000's of children living in poverty] etc SOCIETY.

    What possible use is the sports park to these children in Heretaunga – they don't get the basics of life -especially love.

    I wonder if Sam Kelt could explain to their parents why rates and public debt keeps going up or why they can't afford to go to splash planet anymore. They can't even afford to fill their [2nd hand Jap car] with fuel, and public transport is still rather 'difficult' to hook up to.

    And what of Consultation? The city fathers don't know what this is suppoosed to be under various legal instruments and those of the less able in our society have never experienced it.

    What face will Sam wear Friday, you ask? Whatever face' he wears he will also have the choice of HATS ! Whatever style that is;you can be sure it will shade his eyes from being looked into.



  2. As a fellow old boy of the same College as Sam attended I can say to you, if it were not for Sam's inspirational role in all the capacities that you give him credit 'Where would you Be'. Look at yourself have you offered anything to add to your community in your life time. I believe Sam has, love him or hate him I think he has done more for his Community in 30 years than you critics. So bite your Tongue Hard.

  3. let the man sort himself out just another story of 3rd generation

    HB "society" stuffing up. The old adage, grandad made it, dad spent it and grandsons stuffed it whether it be financially, morally, or politically

    Bigger issues than the Kelts to complain about so get out and enjoy the HB sun and exit from the copious numbers of kiwi knockers.

    Barbara B

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