Councillor unveils her alternative plan for Bay

By Lawrence Gullery

 The Local Government Commission has been asked to leave Hawke's Bay Regional Council out of any plans to merge it with the four other district and city councils in the region.

Havelock North woman and regional councillor Liz Remmerswaal didn't support A Better Hawke's Bay's plan to merge all of the region's councils into one.

She also didn't want to see the creation of a super East Coast regional council, a plan supported by most regional councillors and handed into the commission as an alternative to the A Better Hawke's Bay plan.

Cr Remmerswaal wrote her own alternative proposal where she asked for the status quo of the regional council.

"My suggestion is simply to retain the Hawke's Bay Regional Council as is but amalgamate the four councils - Central Hawke's Bay District, Napier City, Hastings District and Wairoa District councils into one.

"After all, territorial authorities (city and district councils) are all doing similar work, which is quite different from what regional councils do.

"Regional councils have a regulatory role with respect to ensuring territorial authority functions are carried out in a way that does not degrade the environment, for example."

Cr Remmerswaal said the plan to set up an East Coast regional council, assuming areas in Tararua managed by Horizons Regional Council, and other areas managed by Greater Wellington Regional Council, had "major flaws".

She said it had provoked an outcry from the other regional councils it affected, which she believed had no knowledge of the plan before news reports.

It was "rather hypocritical" of the Hawke's Bay Regional Council to state it did not want to tell other district and city councils what to do but went ahead anyway with its East Coast plan without understanding what the other regional councils wanted, she said.

The East Coast plan was put forward by regional council chairman Fenton Wilson and it focused on preserving the environmental function of the council, which was a responsibility not carried by city or district councils.

Mr Wilson was worried if Hawke's Bay councils amalgamated, that function of the regional council would be diminished or lost when absorbed into the merged entity. The deadline for alternative proposals to A Better Hawke's Bay's plan was Friday.

The commission must now consider all the plans.


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