Thursday, March 12, 2015

Mike Butler: 63 percent oppose amalgamation

A Consumerlink poll shows that Hawke’s Bay voters are 63 percent against amalgamating the five councils in the region. Over the past week Consumerlink asked 985 voters whether they would vote for or against a proposal for a Hawke's Bay Council to cover Napier city, Wairoa, Hastings, and Central Hawke's Bay, which would take over the responsibilities of the Hawke's Bay Regional Council, and have five local boards and a Maori board, with headquarters in Napier.

To reflect the proportion of voters in each district, 473 responses were sought from Hastings as 47.3 percent of the total population of the region, 426 from Napier, 58 from Wairoa and 42 from Central Hawke’s Bay.

The poll was commissioned by Hastings Against Amalgamation and was done via email.

Hastings proved to be the soft underbelly of support for amalgamation, as predicted by the Local Government Commission, with 55 percent in favour.

However, all other districts were clearly opposed with 78 percent against in Napier, 90 percent against in Wairoa, and 76 percent against in Central Hawke’s Bay.

Men, women, and all age groups are opposed to amalgamation, the poll revealed.

Opposition from Napier, Wairoa, and Central Hawke’s Bay voters reflects the positions of their respective councils. Wairoa was the only area unable to fill their quota, implying greater lack of interest in the issue in that district.

A ginger group named A Better Hawke’s Bay asked the Local Government Commission to start the process to amalgamate the five councils of Hawke’s Bay and submissions on an initial proposal were heard last June.

The poll result indicates that if the proposal were put to a regional vote it would fail.

The Local Government Commission is yet to release a final amalgamation proposal.

Once a final proposal is released, should that occur, residents in the four regions have 60 days to get together signatures of 10 percent of an affected district to petition for a regional vote.

That would require around 800 signatures in Wairoa or 5100 signatures in Hastings.

Consumerlink is part of the Colmar Brunton organisation that is currently surveying 2000 Hawke’s Bay residents on amalgamation for the Local Government Commission.


DiDi said...

As someone on the outskirts of the Super city all I can say is fight this all the way. Our area is so neglected (funding cuts, parks, cheap chip roads etc) that you need to know that. Also the Local Board is disempowered so much that we really don't have a voice anymore.

Jean Jackson said...

The bias for amalgamation was fuelled by Rome and UN we hear. Earlier Rome and World Heritage had announced that all art galleries + museums etc.must go into council hands - an Ellwood view also.
Anything 'super' came further through 'the dark arts' activities of a woman planner in Europe and UK, AND OTHER REGIONS. Her book 'Common purpose' and local body 'weekends' that misused power, pushed counties together, put up prices and worked with Big Business.
UK has been squeezed into about ten super regions; Australia is 75 - but crosses boundaries so is more visible than in N.Z.

Anonymous said...

If you want an ever growing and expense bureaucracy that achieves nothing but huge rate increases vote for amalgamation

John said...

Ditto what DiDi says.
The Super City Experiment in Auckland is an expensive unmitigated disaster in change governance and management , and we can only hope that the rest of NZ learns from this mistake.
Bigger is NOT better necessarily. From my position it appears as if these mistakes are not being recognised by others around NZ , like whoever is driving the Hawkes Bay & Wellington amalgamations.
As a result of this disaster, we in Auckland will hopefully demand a change of guard at Auckland Council through political change. There currently real and meaningful leadership, no vision, no plan,no accountability, no real representation at street level/no voice. Auckland is sliding deeper into debt, rates are rising,services and common sense are diminishing etc etc. Pay more and get less?
As far as I'm concerned the super city concept, as per the Auckland Council implemented version, is now a very expensive failed experiment.
It had some potential at the planning stage, but the political leadership and council officers in power combined, have
managed to waste the opportunity. Just about all the misgivings that people had at the outset have become reality. God help Wellington and Hawkes Bay if they pursue the same model.
I'm sure some of your skilled contributors can continue to highlight the pitfalls for Wellington and Hawkes Bay and push for change in Auckland.

Paul J. said...

Does the collective system have any real potential to stop the scraping between regions, conflicts of interest, corruption, provide the best shot at good financial expenditure prioritisation etc? Has anyone thought of using a forensic accountant to turn the ACC's books inside out? Why are we not informed in a way that enables the public at large to make a good comparison? The amalgamation cost me $50,000 dollars and I was all for it originally, but I had no idea there was apparently an old boys network in place at the ACC!
Ya live and learn!
Paul J. North Shore.