On Wednesday, the Regional Council will consider its submission to Parliament’s Local Government and Environment Select Committee. Drafted by HBRC staff, the submission would oppose the provisions of the Government’s pending bill designed to streamline the local government reorganisation process.

The bill includes provisions that would enable community groups — like A Better Hawke’s Bay in our region — to initiate reorganisation proposals. It would put a greater burden on those wishing to protect the status quo. And if a poll were required to approve a reorganisation proposal put forward after public consultation by the Local Government Commission, it would require a majority of voters throughout the entire affected region, not just a part of it, to reject the measure. In other words, the new process would ensure the outcome was genuinely democratic, not subject to minority veto as is presently the case.

The Regional Council’s proposed submission would oppose all of these provisions.

I live in the Hastings District.

On Thursday, the Hastings Council will take up its submission on the same legislation. At HDC, it appears that the opposite position is being suggested — Hastings Councillors will be recommended to support the same provisions that HBRC would oppose.

Both of these Councils purport to represent me. Obviously, in this matter, one of them will not.

One more example of the folly of multi-headed ‘leadership’ in Hawke’s Bay … as if we needed another.

Tom Belford

P.S. I intend to make a submission of my own on this legislation. I don’t want there to be any confusion on the part of the Select Committee as to where this resident of Hawke’s Bay stands.

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6 Comments

  1. There is an alternative view about democratic process, which holds that a group that is by majority happy with its existing council (e.g. Wairoa, Napier, Central Hawke's Bay) should not be forcibly amalgamated with a larger group that is by majority not happy with its existing council (e.g. Hastings).

    Especially when the final decision is to be taken by an un-elected body, appointed by a Government that changed the rules after the 2011 election, prior to which its M.P.s (e.g. Chris Tremain, Craig Foss) assured us we would not be amalgamated against our wishes.

    But I guess that view about democracy doesn't suit Baybuzz on this occasion. You prefer majority rule, and too bad for any minorities (or majorities of smaller groups) that don't like the outcome. Maori would certainly understand where you're coming from, because it echoes what John Key has been saying to them about water.

    Does Baybuzz hold the same view about the biggest group prevailing on every issue? Or is it horses for courses?

  2. Bill, once again you have proven to be living on another planet. You have no idea whatsoever what the residents of our various areas feel about a unified authority as opposed to the status quo.

    Provide the evidence or do your homework !

    You would be indubitably aware that there is a very clear division within the HBRC which will be exposed at their forthcoming meeting on this issue.

    This is healthy as some councillors are not the mere compliant type, typified by those at the NCC.

    If you wish to oppose moves to unify a divided and dysfunctional local governance "industry" then you can do so by soliciting signatures for a poll. You have the time and experience, now you can put your outdated views to the test.

    Let's see the level of support you get from an informed public when you relate to them that having 5 dysfunctional councils and an elected representative for every 2,500 residents whilst producing the worst outcomes for an area our size is great for their future.

    Best of luck with that !

  3. I'm interested in the issues, not the personalities. Should a well-represented community, that doesn't want to be amalgamated, be forced into it? And is that democracy or something else?

  4. Bill, that is the issue. You have no answer to my comments re the facts , so your pathetic case for supporting the lame and lazy is moot.

  5. Let's be clear about the Government's new Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill.

    Currently, local bodies can only be reorganised on application from the local authority, the Minister, or a petition signed by 10% of the electors of that authority.

    The new rules abolish the petition requirement and instead allow, 'any body or group with an interest in the governance of the area or areas that the reorganisation application relates to,' to make an application.

    So an unelected, well resourced group like the Chamber of Commerce or A Better HB, can sponser a reorganisation proposal (unitary authority) without any democratic mandate to do so. And if successful, their proposal can be enforced from Wellington.

    And that's okay?

    Currently, reorganising Local Government in HB must be put to the voters. In order to pass, it must gain a majority in each district affected. Under the new rules, there's no requirement to have a vote at all, unless local residents demand one.

    Residents and ratepayers must organise their own referendum: sign a petition demanding one.

    Under the new rules, residents and rate payers have 40 working days to get signatures of 10% of eligible voters (20% + of actual voters) to gather enough signatures.

    Is this the democratic check?

    Citizens must organise their own election in 40 days if they want democracy. Some policy boffin is obviously a Franz Kafka fan.

    And if it comes to referedum, it passes or fails on a simple majority.

    So if Hastings majority want amalgamation they can out vote Napier, CHB and Wairoa, who might not.

    HB might be in need of Governance changes but these Amendments to the Act are divisive and undemocratic.

  6. And what do us minority Maori get to say about it all? Nothing under a majorital vote system accompanied by a dictatorial National party led government. But do any of u give a damn about what Maori think or want; no because you don't dare hear our voice!

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