Today’s headline in the Dominion Post tells it all: “Council tries to evade grandstand objectors.”

Mayor Yule, in his capacity as Chairman of the new Sports Park Trust, established in anticipation of ultimate approval of the park project, is seeking a resource consent from Mayor Yule (could they be related?) and his Hastings Council, to go ahead and begin building the park’s grandstand. This would circumvent the pending Environment Court appeal against the park. Did I mention this consent application would not be publicly notified?

What a charade! Charade … charrette … it all begins to look alike in the Yule regime.

Just one more example in the long saga of the HDC’s disregard of due process in the sports park decision-making process. Which is part of the reason — critical land use issues aside — an Environment Court appeal has been lodged in the first place.

Woeful letters have been published in the ever-reverential HB Today bemoaning the fact that people “with a grudge against Council” are obstructing this noble project. The latest came from Councillor Margaret Twigg, hardly an informed party, as she was off vacationing in Europe throughout the critical public debate on the park earlier this year.

The fact is, far more citizens voiced objections to the so-called “regional” sports park during that process, including in a BayBuzz random survey with hundreds of responses, than those supporting, even with an orchestrated campaign from cyclists eager for their velodrome.

Meanwhile, representing the Sports Park Trust in its effort to evade the Environment Court process is the Bannister & von Dadelszen law firm. Representing the Hastings Council is, hmmm, Bannister & von Dadelszen. How cosy. One presumes they at least have two different lawyers representing each side (or maybe one ambidextrous lawyer with handpuppets on each hand). I wonder if ratepayers get billed twice when they talk to each other?! At least their travel expenses can’t be that huge. I wonder how they’ll impartially negotiate a full value lease for the Sport’s Trust to use the Council’s land?

But I digress.

An energetic fellow, Mayor Yule is not content this week to tell the Environment Court to bugger off. On Friday he’s scheduled to pitch the “regional” project to the Napier City Council in a closed “seminar.” In other words, no accountability — anything could be said, claimed, offered or traded … merits aside.

Here’s a scenario I’ve imagined …

Mayor Yule: “We’re truly sorry we’ve already designed the whole project and just want you to sign the check. You have so many other issues to worry about over here in Napier … we thought we’d save you the bother of actually thinking about our the project. Oh, and Sam Kelt didn’t really expect $3 million … $1 million would be just fine.”

Mayor Arnott: “That’s more like it. How about a win-win trade? You give us $1 million for our Napier Museum and we’ll give you $1 million for your Hastings Regional Sports Park? We’ll both look like champion fundraisers! And since we made the deal ourselves, you won’t need to pay Sam a commission.”

Mayor Yule: “Wow! That’s a great deal Barb. I thought you were going to make us put the soccer fields back at Park Island, where they belong.”

But then I snap out of my daydream and think … Nah! He’s just going to explain to them how the RSP’s “sports programmers” will produce more exercise and healthier lifestyles amongst Maori children. Just like that $600,000 Active Hawke’s Bay program Councillor Furlong likes so much.

The good news of the week on the sports park …

Judge C.J. Thompson has been named to hear the Environment Court appeal. This is the judge who blistered the Hastings Council in his decisions on Cape Kidnapper’s and, more recently, on the proposed development of the Hawke’s Bay Golf Course (citing its impact on Heretaunga Plains horticultural land). I’m sure he’ll love that DomPost headline!

It’s hard to figure who the slower learner is here … Mayor Yule or his legal counsel.


Join the Conversation


  1. Yes it is all mind boggling as its not easy to follow the minds of politicians with agenda's that lack transparencey

    From the Napier Pilot City Trust's priority we will attend the hui at Te Aranga Marae at 9am Wednesday 19th November to contribute our experience with the Mayors task force in finding long term solutions towards,what Mayor Yule now describes as "Youth Boredom"

    Experience from the past, has shown, spendng ratepayers money on youth of whanau disadvantage is a central government responsibility as ratepayers are unable to comprehend any" value for money" with community development-" not a popular investement, as is a Sports Park, or a Museum."(and out of sight and mind in a prison)

    However from a recent H.B.Today press release, Mayor Yule is quoted as saying," I am keen to facilitate the Boot Camps, and one would have to assume to follow "Three Strikes and you are out" as per the USA decantat criminal justice model of retributive justice, advocated by the ACT Party,as Mayor Yules contribution to the community development of Flaxmere.? If we are misguided and adequate resources follow the "Enough is Enough Hikoi" before money is spent on a sports park of a museum, our trust will be full of support to Mayor Yule's taskforce, to assist the people themselves from Flaxmere, and Maraenui to develop their own communities,(both suberbs are still suffering from the closure from our Napier and Hastings industries now, terminated almost three generations ago..

  2. Democracy must exist somewhere in New Zealand, but doesn't seem to in Hawkes Bay. Fortunately the area Councils don't have their own armies, or we'd really be in trouble.

    Elizabeth Sisson

  3. In regards to Mayors Task force in finding long term solutions to the troubled youth problem, we need to be focused on early intervention and engagement with our youth, and asking them what they want to be actively involved with in regards to career options, and getting them started early, while they are still at school, through the gateway and apprenticeship/cadetship opportunitys that exist, we need to upskilling our own whanau first and foremost in regards to the skills shortages.

    The allocation of resources need to shift from the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff to engagement and early intervention activities that they want to get involved with.and get them started with work experience and hands on programs that are going to lead on to employment opportunities.

    Early intervention is the key to working with our youth, and the more whanau that step up to the plate and engage in establishing real positive relationships with our youth the better we all we be.

  4. Had to make another commnent,this time, a very positive expression of goodwill re our visit on Wednesday 19th November to Te Aranga Marae. Flaxmere,

    Mayor Lawrence Yule was represented by Cr Wayne Bradshawe, a new active HDC Cr supportive of community developemnt,"from the bottom up"

    What a" Happy Hui" with Des Ratima, and Henare O/Keefe supported by, it seems, 3 professional motivational facilitators one being Cecelia Ashlie.

    After a morning of positive stories, and real life humour,followed by a lovely lunch,

    In the afternoon youth from various high schools" had their say" in the presence of the facilitators.

    Other huis are to follow to involve, i was told, the mayors of both Napier and Hastings..

    How wonderful if the needs of Maraenui Flaxmere and ,Tamatea could take priority over a Sports Park and Museum, and who knows each project could become a reality,once priorities are established.?

  5. Good points Pat & Rosscoe – community solutions to community problems through broad consultaton and inclusion.

    The RSP is the opposite. The idea didn't come from the community. It is the brain child of Sam Kelt and Lawrence Yule, kicked off with the cunning Murry Gilbertson, ex CEO of HDC

    An independent report commissioned to see if they were on the right track advised investment in existing facilities and organisation. It was dumped.

    The entire process of promoting the RSP has been contrary to communty inclusion in decision making. The project was sited and designed before any consultation. Sporting codes were included or rejected with little consultation, and locals were left out of the loop.

    How much could Sam Kelt's $25,000 a month fee buy in community based sporting initiatives for our at risk youth?

  6. I am not a fan of councils pouring large amounts of my money into facilities to be used by a small sector of the community, nor non-economic businesses. One of the underlying problems with many of the comments in this correspondence is a misunderstanding of the legitimate role of governments and councils. Governments' primary role is to protect its citizens. Clearly the Labour-led government failed abysmally in meeting that responsibility. They talked tough, spent lots of money but achieved nothing of benefit for communities like Flaxmere.

    I chuckle to myself listening to people from posh areas pontificating about my suburb of Flaxmere. I'm a Hastings boy and have lived and taught in Flaxmere for decades. I remember well the days when Whakatu and Tomoana freezing works were at their peak. (My father worked at Whakatu for many decades) The infection that has since erupted in my community was there back then. I saw first-hand the effects of wife-beating and child abuse thirty years ago. – and that in supposedly "good" families. I shudder to think what was going on in the "bad" families. No, the problems today are not from poverty. There are many contributing factors – many caused by zealot socialists who promoted and then fed upon a victim mentality. While it is not for me to judge the motives of the social engineering brigade, it is clear that their dreams of a Marxist paradise simply don't work. As for poverty being the cause of the break down of law and order, that is a load of old cobblers. The lowest level of living in Flaxmere now is significantly higher than the over-whelming majority of Hastings people when I was a child. Significantly, back then most of us had a vegetable garden and some chooks. Incidentally, crime rates actually dropped during the depression of the 30’s.

    Pat, it would be more helpful, if you want intelligent, rational discussion, to read carefully all of ACT's policies, including Law and Order, before going off half-cocked with misleading statements. At the heart of ACT's policy is seeing violent offenders don't get the opportunity to kill and maim while on parole. The vast majority of Kiwi agree with that but as you say, though not in this regard, the wishes of the community have been ignored by "we-know-better-than-you" politicians. With your strong stand on politicians doing what the community wants, no doubt you have been outraged at the anti-smacking legislation which is clearly out of line with what the community wants.

    We all know “there ain't no such thing as a free lunch”, so I do hope Pat's lunch at the Te Aranga Marae wasn't paid for from my rates.

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