As you know, I support A Better Hawke’s Bay (ABHB), now with 1,000 supporters, in its advocacy of a comprehensive study of Hawke’s Bay’s performance — one that includes re-examining the suitability of our local/regional governance arrangements going forward.
Yesterday we might have made significant progress … but we won’t know for sure until next Monday. Waiting with bated breath!
On Wednesday, Stuart McLauchlan made the case to both the full Regional and Napier Councils on behalf of A Better Hawke’s Bay. And in both cases a couple of dozen ABHB backers were on hand to show their support.
At the Regional Council, the mission was to reinforce the Council in the direction it has already signaled — a comprehensive study that includes governance — given that other councils (with the exception of Hastings) have been less certain about the nature of their commitment. In short, the message to HBRC and Chairman Fenton Wilson was … hold firm if other councils waver in their support of a comprehensive, independent study.
At the Napier Council, the mission was to smoke out exactly where that Council stood on the matter, given media accounts that have been vague or contradictory. Deputy Mayor Kathie Furlong, speaking for the Council (Mayor Arnott was attending a DHB Board meeting), was emphatic in stating that the NCC indeed supported a comprehensive study as proposed by the Regional and Hastings Councils. Great news for Hawke’s Bay.
However, the rubber meets the road next Monday the 28th, when the region’s four mayors and the regional council chair convene to negotiate the terms of reference and process for the study exercise. That’s when the true spirit and agendas these five leaders bring to the table will be displayed.
A Better Hawke’s Bay has been clear about what we believe the region needs and expects. Before politicians head off for the holidays, we would like to see our five leaders:
- Agree on draft terms of reference for the study, including governance;
- Commit that the study will present independent and objective recommendations (that is, not be controlled or steered by councils in any pre-conceived direction);
- Agree that the study will be directed by an independent person with appropriate skills, credibility and mana, such that the result commands respect in the community; and,
- Commit to adequate funding for the project, so that a thorough and high quality study is produced.
A Better Hawke’s Bay believes that — if our five elected leaders come to the table in the right spirit — this progress can be achieved on November 28th.
As for BayBuzz, we look forward to a terrific photo opportunity when the group emerges from its meeting on Monday with smiling faces and approved study charter in hand!
P.S. But just in case, I urge you to fire off an email to your mayor and to Fenton Wilson. Here are their email addresses:
Fenton Wilson: firstname.lastname@example.org
Barbara Arnott: email@example.com
Lawrence Yule: firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter Butler: email@example.com
Les Probert: firstname.lastname@example.org
Take a moment to send your email now.