The Napier Council last week announced an election eve gift to its tourism lobby — $100,000 to be spent on luring travelers to Napier from Australia.

We look forward to seeing how they plan to do that … if there is a plan. And how they plan to measure the effectiveness of their $100,000 spend … if there is an evaluation plan. After all, Mayor Arnott claims her team will do a better job of tourism promotion than Venture Hawke’s Bay. Can’t wait to see her winning formula. I suspect the $100,000 might produce more votes than tourists.

Here’s a suggestion. Since the Aussies are an adventurous lot, how about appealing to them with a new slogan … Visit Napier, Art Deco and crime too.

Police statistics released over the weekend paint a grim picture. As reported in the DomPost:

The Eastern policing district, covering Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay, had the most crime per head of population in New Zealand. Reported assaults were on a par with last year, at 3352, but were the highest per head of population in the country. Murders jumped from one to six, harassment charges climbed 24 per cent to 848, and drug-dealing charges leapt by 50 per cent to 177.

District manager of intelligence Tony Dewhirst said: “There’s a direct link between disadvantaged communities and crime, and we have some of the most disadvantaged in the country.”

He said an increase in family violence had pushed up the statistics heavily. Family violence reports had climbed by nearly 3500 in the past six years in response to society’s growing lack of tolerance for it and increased police resources put into tackling it, he said. “The concern is that, in disadvantaged societies, there tends to be less reporting, so it could be worse than it looks.”

Speaking of disadvantaged communities, the HB Chamber of Commerce just released a report indicating the HB economy is going backwards, even as the rest of NZ’s economy is slowly recovering from recession. Will this mean even more crime and domestic violence here?

And what about hunger?

Last Wednesday HB Today reported the surge in demand for help from the area’s food banks (increases of more than 30% from the previous year) and budgeting services (demand nearly doubling over two years). Napier Family Centre had 3.5 times more requests for food help than in 2008. Staff there reduced their hours and pay rates so that more assistance could be given to families in need.

And what does Napier City Council do? Throw another $100,000 at tourism marketing. The Chamber’s Murray Douglas seems to think this is a great “proactive” idea. More tourists spending $200-$300 per day “could turn the region around,” he says. Yeah, right.

The disadvantaged in our region need more — and need it more urgently — than “trickle down” benefits from a bit more tourism … if even that happens.

Hastings isn’t much better. When, in my annual plan submission earlier this year, I asked the Hastings Council to look into what I feared were the sharply escalating needs of our food banks, the official staff response actually was … they haven’t called us asking for more help, so they must not need any. So Councillors did nothing.

That’s “proactive” for you!

At last night’s candidate event in Havelock North, the three major contenders for the Hastings mayoralty each talked about the need to improve Hastings’ economic well-being, but no one offered much of a plan. Then the Havelock North candidates for HDC had their turn. Wayne Bradshaw noted that when his resolution aimed at making economic development the Council’s top priority for the coming year was put to a vote a few months back, only he and two other Councillors voted for it.

This is what happens when Councillors and Council staff — all of whose pay and budgets have increased over the last three years — live on different planets than the real people they serve!

Tom Belford

Join the Conversation


  1. Max, you’re an idiot. But how very Hawkes’s Bay of you to avoid the issue. Congratulations.

    Then again, that’s what we want from our politicians isn’t it? To do nothing? Our local MP’s do not much more than drive around in utes and Magpies jerseys, but that keeps everyone happy.

    NO ONE here has addressed the issue. That’s a part of the problem. It’s ignored. Take a stroll away from the vineyards of Eskdale, the manicured gardens of inner-city Napier, or the European car collection that is Havelock, and it’s plain to see. Maraenui and Flaxmere are both, for want of a better word, ghettos.

    Bash, fight. All right! Come on Hawke’s Bay.

  2. At least Max has the guts to put his name to his postings!

    Who ARE you, “William” and why does BayBuzz allow you to take pot shots to all and sundry from behind a nom de plume?

    Here’s my challenge to you:

    1. Give us your full name

    2. Tell us what your solution is to the issue you have so succinctly outlined.

    And if you can’t do both, then how do you expect any of us to listen to your opinions?

  3. Aha, & I see Lawrence is doing his bit to attract the tourists also, to emphasise those alternatives (albeit not mutually exclusives) to our very own nationally acclaimed crime rate … & of course it is in the realms of that robust stuff we rate, not the piffling .. & all this by creating a non Tukituki riverstone entrance to the Hastings Council. The incongruity of the structure with the rest of the building will attract those with an interest in architecture in their absolute hordes and probably world wide … art deco, ‘eat your heart out.’
    The contribution made by the Napier Council to tourism, in comparison, will simply pale in to insignificance.
    Arnott for ‘super council’ mayor … not on your nelly!
    Lawrence is here … chair … talking frugality, reducing beauracracy, reducing costs to the ratepayers in tough times … & his focus is aesthetics of questionable merit?
    Where are you Wayne??
    It would seem that an imperative to financing this grandiosity is indeed, parking meters in Havelock North.
    & really, Maxine, what will ‘throwing $100,000 at tourism in Napier really achieve?? Be it the donor be anonymous or not??
    None of what is occurring could be considered very convincing, either in respect to reducing crime in this area or providing sufficient employment, pride in the area or other that would reduce what appears our national ‘stand out’ notoriety – serious crime.

  4. What’s going to bring Aussie visitors to Napier Tom?

    I don’t really think crime is the best draw card; Australians have enough of that at home.

    It would be nice to have something that Sydney, for example doesn’t have. Will a museum do it? Nope every city has a museum and ours is closed for two years. What about the Aquarium? Well what about Kelly Tartons and Sea World, so cross that out. Well Tom, how about Art Deco? There are other Art Deco towns, what about Ranfurley in the beautiful South island? What a headache for the Napier Council.

    So Tom what kind of campaign will draw Aussies from over the ditch? Is anything guaranteed to pull tourists to Napier in the middle of a Recession?

    What’s that Tom, did you mutter panda bears?

  5. Tom, I don't agree with your take on Napier City Council's decision to spend $100,000 for promoting the city to tourists.

    Tourism is the main driver of our economy here; the drop in hotel-motel occupancies and associated retail sales has meant a loss of jobs and business across the city. Spending $100,000 on marketing Napier is a modest attempt to reverse this trend.

    As for timing – the drop in tourists needs to be treated with some urgency, to try and bring more visitors here in the months ahead. The new council will not be meeting until mid-November, too late for approving a marketing budget for summer, so this needed to start immediately.

    However, I do agree that we could do more to offset the hardship many are suffering at present, and I for one would like to see our Community Services Grants increased from $1.30 per person to at least $2. This would make more funds available for the Family Centre, the Food Bank and other front-line charitable organisations. At present we put $74,400 into this pot; raising this to $2 per person would make it $114,500. A drop in the bucket, some might say: but it would be an acknowledgement of the hardship being experienced by many and show our support for the organisations working to deliver services to high-needs families.

    Crime and domestic violence in the region have many drivers, but one important way to reduce them is to have a healthy economy that provides appropriate employment for all job-seekers. In Napier, the economy is dependent on tourism, so attracting more tourists to our city must be a top priority for this and the next Council.

    …and as a footnote, in the heart of what you call the "Crime Capital", Tom, we've had a happy camper living for a week in a tent in Clive Memorial Square downtown Napier without even having a tent rope undone! Richard Anderson, of the Napier Rotary Club, has managed to raise over $4000 for three shelterboxes Rotary International sends to disaster areas around the world. Napier may be suffering, but we still have a heart for others who are worse off.

  6. A question was asked at the candidates' meeting at Havelock North Community Center on Sunday that didn't really get a satisfactory answer; namely, why was Havelock North's 150th anniversary not celebrated?

    The answer is self-evident. It was not celebrated because Hasting District Council does not see Havelock North as something to be celebrated.

    It sees it as a necessary nuisance to bring in the revenue.

    HDC proposed to install parking meters in Havelock North.

    Havelock North residents fought the proposal and won, earning the contempt and derision of HDC councillors in the process.

    The public is "ignorant and thick", remember?

    OK, different issue, but same attitude

    HDC Planning (wrongly) approved intensive residential development.

    Havelock North residents took legal action and won, in the process costing HDC substantial legal costs, and Havelock North residents the animosity and loathing of senior HDC executives.

    "Wait till we've won and we'll sue the …….."

    They lost.

    Many Havelock North residents still resent the forced amalgamation with Hastings.

    HDC seems to share the feeling.

    Let's hope that a revived HDC will bring about a change of attitude.

  7. When are we going to finally realise that if there's 4 things the Eastern seaboard of Australia & it's inhabitants aren't short of; it's sunshine, beaches, good food & good wine.

    Why would anyone want to travel for more of the same? Art deco does'nt register beyond a vague curiosity for those that have already made the trip. Surely we'd be better off aiming for the vast tracts of NZ that have little sunshine & the long haul destinations to offer winter ecapes?

    One things for sure, when those cruise ship passengers are marooned for a day in a desolate town with boarded up shops & shut-down ex-tourist attractions, their 'customer satisfaction questionnaire' results will guarantee plenty of boats go somewhere more interesting next summer.

  8. And who are you to issue an ultimatum Maxine? William is my name, it's not a nom de plume. This is a blog, and people are entitled to their opinions. So lets "stay calm and keep going".

    Don't get me wrong, I love the Hawke's Bay, which is why I would love to see at least a little recognition of a problem that really needs addressing: crime. I'd prefer not to make this a personal debate, but surely in your time as a councillor and teacher, you will be more aware of this issue than most.

    The problem is, the real Hawke's Bay does not sit well with the Hawke's Bay we sell as a destination. While tourism is a large part of our economy, it is not the only part. I do not agree with you that investment in this sector will have any impact on crime. At all. The people who partake in "crime and domestic violence" are hardly the same type of people who will be taking guided tours.

    Yes we do have unemployment, and yes this is a driver of crime. However tourism is certainly not the answer. Why, with so many jobless, do we consistently see labour shortages in the horticultural industry? And why do local contractors recruit staff from Thailand and the Pacific to fill jobs that are so desperately needed by our own?

    Tourism is something that comes more naturally to a safe city. I direct you to comments made by the most recent edition of lonely planet:

    "Hastings is a utilitarian agricultural town with tractors on the streets and little of the chutzpah Napier manifests so readily. A random scene: a shirtless young renegade drives his ember-red utility around and around Hastings’ main block, The Doors’ Light My Fire stuck on repeat, blaring from open windows, an unlit cigarette dangling from his lip… The question is, will Hastings light your fire?" (1)

    You only need to look to emigrant blogs for further evidence of such discontent. (2)

    I will also remind you that the archival footage TVNZ runs behind any gang violence story is a black power and mongrel mob member fighting in Emmerson Street.

    So the question I have for you, is that shouldn't we be looking to address such problems before we expose more people to them? Or are we going to employ a Delhi approach come Rugby World Cup time?

    (1 )
    (2 )

  9. Quite frankly, Tom this is a shoddy article that does absolutely no credit to you as its writer. Ostensibly, well written and objective, it doesn't take long to work out that it all it does is panda to the surrealists. Still I suppose , one last gasp before Saturday. I'm hoping to get elected to Planet NCC and hopefully when I venture forth to make some form of peace with Planet Belford I will find some form of objective life still remaining.

  10. Tom, It would not surprise me, if Napier was the crime capital of N.Z,

    The Napier Court is surrounded by local and government departments.

    Often the the salaries of staff employed by these departments result from the effects of crime.Many offenders I observe in the Napier Court are still not coping with the bitter effects from colonalisation and urbanisation.

    Over the past 2 years,when I have attended the Napier Court,seldom have i observed interest from "city leadership" or concern. towards the plight of our many young, or aged offenders, in the Napier Court. Too many offenders, are adicted,unemployed with few life skills.

    But Tom, why worry,? recently Napier was classified and given the nod, as a "Safe City," (by a World Health Organisation.)

    Credit towards "a Safe City", was given for Napiers ' excellent Patrol network,(and well deserved)

    However a Safer City Award for Napier is also backed by extra the beds in prisons. with containers,and double bunking, plus the recent Act Parties 3 strikes law. (for extra saftey)

    Therefore Tom, good you raised the point, as with little or no investement or understanding of all our citizens of Napier, crime will continue to spill over and harm our community of Napier, perhaps a new Napier Court, in the offing, to compete with the proposed Museum.?

    I have come to the conclusion that from the above punitve legislation warrented our Safer City gong.

  11. William, I hardly think Maxine calling you out for spinelessly insulting others whilst not divulging your full name is an ultimatum?

    Its a matter of honesty and integrity, everyone else here is maturely and openly debating the issues at hand without resulting to insults or name calling:

    "Max, you’re an idiot. But how very Hawkes’s Bay of you to avoid the issue. Congratulations." (in case you needed a reminder) Not to mention your attitude in previous discussions.

    You quite clearly have no idea what you're talking about, so the only thing you can bring to these discussions is a slew of veiled jabs and pot shots at all in sundry. All whilst flinging random facts and not producing any kind of productive solution. Futile and pointless much?

  12. I admit, calling someone an idiot is not productive. However, I would have thought it’s analogous to saying someone “[has] no idea what [they're] talking about. It was a passing remark. I apologise. Let’s move on and not get in to tit for tat replies.

    What I will say, is that this is a blog. It’s open to everyone, and everyone’s opinions. I’ll also point out that you haven’t acknowledged my latest post.

  13. Target the gaming machines

    The people who commit violent crime are to be found in all socio-economic groups. Hypocritical labelling of the disadvantaged by the judgemental privileged is part of the problem, not the solution. Those who live in poverty, invariably in lower socio-economic areas, are more likely to be arrested prosecuted and imprisoned. The privileged that have the means the contacts and the support have the opportunity to escape public scrutiny and conviction. That one man crime wave and public purse leech, Sam Kelt is one example. Is anyone game to walk the streets with him…….?
    Massey University has completed a study that demonstrates a strong correlation between gambling and crime. Putting causality and morality to one side, if gaming machines continue to be placed in lower socio-economic areas, at the very least the millions of dollars that are poured into these machines in our region should be returned to the communities that generate those funds. That would be good starting point. The funds should not be granted to schools such as Hereworth and Lindisfarne, as they are at present. The Woodford House Board of Trustees recently received a grant of $10,000 from the Endeavour Trust. Perhaps the pupils, their parents and extended family and friends could help fund their elitist establishments by filling the apparent shortage of horticultural labour or would the minimum wage and nature of the work overwhelm their sensibilities and leave them too exhausted to concentrate on the structure and operation of their LAQC’s and family trusts they employ to rort Inland Revenue, Working for Families and WINZ.

    Keep up the good work Maxine!

  14. I completely agree with your comments on pokies Kate. They Should be banned.

    You’re right, crime comes from all walks of life, including the schools you mentioned. However, I don’t think its very fair to arbitrarily go around labelling them as elitist.

    Your perceptions of funding are misguided. There’s only one private school in HB, and that’s Hereworth. The rest are fully or partially taxpayer funded, including Lindisfarne and Woodford. Admittedly, these two are both decile 10 schools. But Napier Girls is a decile 9. Does this make it elitist? The thing is, decile 10 schools get bugger all funding per student. Especially compared to Flaxmere’s high school, which as a decile 1-c, is incredibly well resourced.

    Regardless, these schools are as entitled to the funding as anyone else. Its a slightly redundant argument to say that because one community is foolish enough to throw money at the machines, they should get it back. They’re gambling after all. Its not a community activity, its a plague.

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