Napier has say on future

By Sam Hurley

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Napier resident Tessa Tylee asks the commissioners a question about wards at the Local Government Commission meeting last night. Photo / Duncan Brown
Napier resident Tessa Tylee asks the commissioners a question about wards at the Local Government Commission meeting last night. Photo / Duncan Brown

Napier residents and ratepayers gathered last night for a public meeting held by the Local Government Commission, which is considering ways to shape local authorities in Hawke's Bay.

Eighty-eight people were present at the Napier War Memorial Conference Centre, compared with 34 at the same meeting on Tuesday night in Hastings.

The audience was interested to hear when commissioners Basil Morrison, Anne Carter and Grant Kirby said ratepayers were able to force a region-wide poll on the proposal, if called for by just 10 per cent of the voting public of any of the electorates.

Napier resident Richard McGrath asked the commissioners: "Have you gone back to the Auckland ratepayers? Have you gone back to the people to ask them how they feel about amalgamation?"

Chairman Basil Morrison responded by saying they had not but they collected local media news clippings to gauge the thoughts and feelings of the community.

Napier resident Sue Macdonald said: "If all of the population of Hastings, Central Hawke's Bay and Wairoa said yes to amalgamation but the whole population of Napier said no, what would happen? Would Napier be forced into amalgamation?"

The commissioners responded and noted the overall regional vote would be taken deciding on the formation of local council.

Local tourist operator Brian Fisher said he backed amalgamation and believed it would be a "healthy option" from a tourist perspective.

Napier mayoral candidate and Napier city councillor Bill Dalton said: "Whenever we talk about amalgamation we talk about Auckland, and that's fine because Auckland has sprawled and has become on community of interest. But Hawke's Bay is not one community of interest it is many. There is absolutely no reason why we can't contrive to have an efficient local government for each community of interest."

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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