Today Mayor Yule announced that he would stand for re-election as Mayor of Hastings in 2010.

More significantly, he announced a proposal for unified, two-tiered governance of the region.

Under his scheme, a unified authority (Unitary Council) would hold responsibility for region-wide functions, including many implemented now by the HB Regional Council. Hastings and Napier would continue to have governing boards with more restricted scope. Some elected officials would serve on both the unitary and second-tier body; others only on their local board. Iwi representation would also be specifically provided on the Unitary Council.

The scheme would be debated in 2011. Put to public referendum in 2012. And serve as the basis of representation in 2013 elections.

Because of the importance and complexity of the proposal, I have included it in its entirety below, or you can download it here.

Further commentary to come!

Tom Belford

Council for Hawke’s Bay – As announced by Mayor Lawrence Yule

Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule has today announced his intention to stand for Mayor of Hastings for a last term at next year’s Local Government elections and promote the formation of a Unitary Authority for Hawke’s Bay.

It is 20 years since Local Government was significantly changed in the region in the 1989 Government-led reforms.

“The time is right for our respective communities to consider a new way of doing things which preserves the very best of what we have, yet makes Hawke’s Bay more competitive in the future,” Mayor Yule says.

The reorganisation in Auckland and the review of the RMA will potentially have big impacts on Local Government. There are also potential changes to building inspection systems.

The current recession also provides an opportunity to improve things so we are able to take full advantage of the economic upturn. I am also mindful that Maori will play a major role in the development of our region in the future, particularly post-Treaty settlements.

The Royal Commission model for Auckland offers a potential template for Hawke’s Bay. The trick is to build a system that suits us in Hawke’s Bay, both as a region and as individual communities. I am suggesting an approach which is non-threatening and constructive. I am keen to build on the current spirit of regional co-operation.

The former referendum on amalgamation between Napier and Hastings did not gain universal approval, but I am confident we can find a structure that makes sense to Hastings, Napier and the region. I am also confident such a solution can be supported by the majority of our citizens.

The proposal is prefaced on providing a two-tiered structure which gives us a strong regional capability, while supporting strong local identities and decision-making where desired.

The decision to release this concept at this stage hinges around timeframes.

It is just over one year until nominations close for next year’s local Government elections. This will give councillors and prospective councillors time to decide on their future plans and provide input into any structure.

– October 2010 Local Government Elections
– 2011 development and consultation on a proposed structure
– Late 2011 review and hearings by Local Government Commission
– Early 2012 referendum on an agreed alternative structure
– Mid-2012 Transitional Committee formed if structure is to change.
– October 2013 Local Government Elections for new structure.

Significant debate will centre on representation. The model below is just an initial concept which attempts to provide a strong regional structure while recognising the significant importance of local decision-making. The leader of the Unitary Authority could be termed a Chair or a Mayor.

Key Points

Governance Model and Structure

A Unitary Authority would cover the current Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Boundary. It will effectively govern regional activities within Napier City and Hastings District and the Regional Council activities within Central Hawke ‘s Bay and Wairoa Districts.

The District Councils of Central Hawke’s Bay and Wairoa would retain their current structures, but would be welcome to join if they wished. This would change the representation mix.

1 Mayor elected at large
1 Vice-Mayor elected by Napier
1 Vice-Mayor elected by Hastings
2 Iwi Representatives
10 councillors elected by wards across the region

2. Activities Governed by the New Unitary Council

– Land use and Resource Consents
– Water and air quality monitoring and standards
– Development of a Combined District Plan
– Interaction with proposed Environmental Protection Agency
– Erosion Control and River Protection works.
– Coastal Erosion consenting and control.
– Building Consents/ Data recording and inspections.
– Liquor licensing
– Dog Control
– Noise Control
– Iwi Relationships

– Regional Transport Planning
– Port of Napier and Hawke’s Airport
– Broadband
– Water Harvesting and storage
– Investment management
– McLean Park , Park Island , Pettigrew Green Arena, Regional Sports Park
– Libraries
– Significant Parks Lake Tutira, Te Mata etc
– All engineering design and construction work carried out by NCC, HDC and HBRC
– Hawke’s Bay Museum Collection and Archives
– Omaranui landfill, waste collection and recycling
– Civil defence
– Strategic Partnerships Rotary Pathways, Unison Networks

– One rate demand and collection system
– Existing debt to be funded by existing ratepayers
– Treasury management and secretarial support

– All staff employment contracts to be with Unitary Authority. All services will be delivered by the Unitary Authority.
– Housing of staff to be in the three current HDC, NCC and HBRC buildings.

Promotion Marketing and Economic Development
– Venture Hawke’s Bay
– Alignment with Hawke’s Bay Chamber of Commerce, EIT

– Pest management
– Animal Health Board Partnership
– Strategic partnerships with Sport Hawke’s Bay, DHB

2nd Tier Governance Structure for Hastings District and Napier City

Hastings Board

1 Vice-Mayor – also on Unitary Authority
3 councillors – also on Unitary Authority
5 councillors
1 Chair of Rural Community Board

Napier Board

1 Vice-Mayor – also on Unitary Authority
3 councillors- also on Unitary Authority
4 councillors

Governance responsibilities

– Parking
– Urban design
– Signage
– Landscape
– Bylaws

– Water supply
– Waste water
– Urban storm water
– Local roading
– Street lighting
– Local road upgrades
– CBD upgrades
– Playgrounds
– Toilets
– Theatres and halls

– Rating for local services

Marketing and Economic Development
– City marketing
– CBD retailers relationships
– Tourism attractions
– Sister City activities
– Events

Community Services
– Pensioner housing
– Community grants
– Community partnerships
– Community safety
– Rural Fire (HDC only)
– Local art and culture
– Community centres

Community Boards could be established in Havelock North, Flaxmere and Taradale. It is intended to retain the Rural Community Board as part of the Hastings representation. Community Boards would report to the respective Napier or Hastings Board.


Join the Conversation


  1. Some preliminary thoughts after first read:

    The Unitary authority proposal is interesting and deserves full discussion and consideration; but such a huge change would take some time to work through properly and could not be inflicted on us quickly and ….unnecessarily? … if it aint broke…. what's the rush?? We should wait and see what happens in Auckland. It certainly hasn't resulted in better relations around that region so far.

    My main concern is whether this model would give adequate representation to our various communities. Our job is to serve and represent the people and a smaller, "stream-lined" super council would increase the number of people each councillor is expected to represent. A smaller number of people in the super city council will be exercising much more power.

    Two iwi representatives I fully support – our region is "browning" fast, there are treaty settlements pending and we need to work in partnership with iwi authorities, support what they are doing and share decision-making to get the best outcomes for everyone. It will be interesting to hear the response from Ngati Kahungunu leaders. They have no guaranteed representation now, so this would be an improvement. However, I am sure they would not be the only Maori councillors.

    I fully believe in co-operation and collaboration at all levels across Hawkes Bay – we're literally brothers and sisters and should work close together where we can in as many areas as possible.

    But the long list of activities to be merged within this proposed unitary authority suggests massive job losses could be part of the merger as both councils are large employers. Is that a good outcome? And the cost and time it would take to combine all those policies and bylaws to everybody's satisfaction….

    Lots of issues – hopefully will be discussed here and in other fora – I look forward to hearing others' opinions.

  2. Once again 'consultation' begins with a detailed plan which reads like more like an election platform for Yule than a serious engagement with the public. That he spouted this at the same time as announcing his standing for re-election is not coincidental.

    The Big Idea coupled with Leadership.

    And just like the sale of Nelson Park, Ocean Beach, and the Sports Park, he has the 'big idea' and spins the political process to achieve the result.

    Beginning with such a detailed proposal is not the way to create the most suitable governance for Hawke's Bay.

    To get the best result requires the presentation of several models for public consultation as required under The Local Government Act. But already Mayor Yule is narrowing the debate by presenting a detailed proposal at the outset.

    Surely a joint statement from all the leaders of the stakeholder council's would have been the appropriate way to announce the biggest change to local body governance in 20 years.

    But no. Looks like Hastings is owning the HB Unitary Authority just like owns the HB Regional Sports Park.

  3. It still surprises me that broadband does not make the infrastructure list.

    The technology industry and those wanting to live in the Bay and operate globally still have a lot of education to do at the council level.


  4. We must bring efficiencies to local government in the same way, as any proper business must manage its costs; this is not currently happening.

    Take for example 'Spash Planet 'if it were a private business it would no longer exist. The council shows that it cannot run a business, in a business like manner and expects the ratepayer to pick up this financial loss for its poor governance………….why then cannot businesses apply the same logic to the council and say 'bail me out council', should they find themselves in this situation.

    Why as ratepayers should we accept this!

    Why are we rewarding failure in the Local Government sector?

    A question that no local politician will adequately answer I am sure!

    I think the answer is that most people are too busy trying to survive than contest city hall, thus assuming city hall knows what they are doing; examples like this show they do not understand the complexities of business.

    It is like expecting a hairdresser to do brain surgery!

    Many farming properties in Hawkes Bay are paying more per hectare in rates than their properties are capable of earning this constitutes more than a 100% tax on their earnings; surely there has to be a law against this extortion!

    Why do councils think they entitled to earnings from a property when the owner not only gets nothing on his/her investment and often nothing for his/her work!

    This must be the worst possible governance one can have anywhere in the world!

    Alot of farm properties are being sustained by spouses/ farmers working off farm……..this situation is ridiculous and needs immediate attention; before the abyss of unemployment in this region opens as farm production declines.

    Even if we have to introduce old English common law!

    No problem says the councils; along comes the Regional Council and buys your property at a mortgagee sale.

    There are at least three interesting points that arise from this;

    !) Land values are increased in that area because local government has bid up the land price.

    2) Rates for people in the area are greater because land values will be higher.

    3) Who then pays the rates on this new council land; the council of course with more ratepayer funding.


    We must streamline our local bodies immediately this situation cannot wait!

  5. yay to mark sweet.

    This is nothing but a pitch for the destruction of local governance in Hawkes Bay.

    Unitary authorities are a failure in New Zealand and yet we have a few people who do not understand this fact and see it as a way of propelling this model forward as the solution to good local government.

    Local Government means just that and the further you remove the shiny arses away from the people the worse the representation and the worse the rates results.

    There are no savings to be made and no progress except for those who receive the higher remuneration and greater power.

    The other issue here is the fact that the local government act allows for ratepayers to apply for re-organisation—not Mayors.

    If ratepayers are unhappy with the situation let them initiate discussions.

    This move to work off the back of the Auckland Super City disaster is one all ratepayers should be wary of.

    Higher rates, less representation, that is what you will get.

  6. Very interesting concept Mayor Yule has proposed.

    The immediate question that comes to mind is around the quality of Local Governance, simply if those who are elected to represent the people are undertaking their roles well and are responsive, then at what level they operate at formally is irrelevant.

    I also recall Mayor Yule making a joint comment with Mayor Arnott when the Auckland Super City proposal came out, that there was no plan to propose a similar concept for Hawkes Bay, in fact Mayor Yule was quite adament that there was no need. So, what has changed?

    Dare I say that Mark Sweet has propositioned a very valid point!

    Local Government as anyone knows is an evolving form of democracy, however the basis of its evolution should always be 'relevancy and service'. If the Super Council for Hawkes Bay was to result in an improvement for representation, accountability, quality of life and so forth, then by all means consider it! If not then you must immediately question the motives behind those who proposed it in the first place.

    On a national level, those who opposed MMP clearly had vested interests (commerical and political) and wanted to maintain control of the two party system. Kiwi's saw the MMP systems inherent fairness and supported it, because it resulted in an improvement to democratic representation!

    Which ever path way Hawkes Bay takes, may it do so in an informed manner. But to be frank with a number of the people it elected to all three autorities in 2007, I have my doubts that such a result is possible. Until the people of Hawkes Bay become more poltically aware and actively interested in their governance, then the monied minority will maintain control.

  7. I need to get my eyes tested. I can confirm the mayor reads this blog and that broadband is on the list.



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