With the local elections looming and voting papers having gone out, Hawke's Bay Today has put four important questions facing the region to each candidate standing for election from Wairoa to Dannevirke and including the Hawke's Bay District Health Board. Some questions may not directly affect the candidates but they are the major issues affecting the whole region. The series continues today with the Napier City Council candidates.
1. Do you support amalgamation of some or all of the local councils in Hawke's Bay? Yes/No
2. Do you support the Hawke's Bay Regional Council's plan to build the Ruataniwha Dam in Central Hawke's Bay? Yes/No
3. Do you support fluoridation of water supplies? Yes/No
4. Do you support the exploration of oil and gas, including the method of fracking in Hawke's Bay and Tararua? Yes/No
1. No. There is insufficient evidence to justify such a move is in Napier's best interest. Napier has a sound financial position, excellent assets and everything going for it. Closer working arrangements between councils would be logical and together with Government-directed changes to the RMA, we should anticipate better outcomes without full scale amalgamation.
2. Yes. With only 2 per cent of rain water captured how could a dam be bad? Surely it would take pressure off the aqua filter and provide other uses such as flushing rivers. It could also become another recreational source for the community.
3. Yes. Having lived in Auckland and enjoying 14 years' filling free then returning to Napier to a reverse situation, it does, given my personal experience, seem a good idea. However, in saying that it would be better to see factual comparisons between Hastings and Napier dental treatment.
4. Unsure. I have seen compelling arguments both ways and witnessed the success of Taranaki.
1. I'm all for working smarter and the cities contributing to the region as a whole, but I forsee in say a 50-year plan, both cities growing to a size that we both will need decent infrastructure. I ask what size does Napier have to be to get a hospital back?
2. I think the 20 to 30 year forecast for the east coast of the North Island was for the area to be warmer and wetter (came out last year, I think, from Niwa). Do we need to diversify more in our farming methods rather than do same old? Work has been done on drought-resistant grasses with longer root systems, maybe we need to try the alternatives before we spend millions on a dam.
3. Sweden and Norway have taken fluoridation out of the water supply and given their people the right to choose. If you want it, I say you can make the choice to put it in yourself.
4. Not happy with fracking as it takes 40 years for anything to filter into our water supply, so I'm not prepared to gamble on that one. The world is warming, I think now is the time for renewable energy.
1. No. The amalgamation issue is not economically proven at this stage: Auckland has not yet provided the financial gains that were envisaged. Other areas of New Zealand are currently struggling with this problem, hence my recommendation is that we wait and see if the financial gains anticipated are achieved. My stance of "No Hidden Agendas" means I am open to discussion on amalgamation and other topics.
2. Yes. Regarding the Ruataniwha Dam, I am convinced we should seize this opportunity to ensure water supply for agriculture of Hawke's Bay. The economic well-being of the rural sector will mean that we all do well.
4. Yes. While fracking is providing other parts of the world with certainty in the supply of fuel and gas and given the current situation in the Middle East, it would be foolish not to explore all options for our energy supply.
1. No. I suggest that the time for amalgamation to occur is not right. But that in the future the situation may be appropriate for that to occur.
2. Yes. In my view an adequate supply of water needs to be available somewhere as supply is necessary to supply the crops, vineyards and livestock.
3. Yes. Unfortunately I am not in receipt of all information that gives me confidence to give a definite yes or no on fluoridation of any city.
4. Yes to exploration, no to fracking. I am in support of oil and gas but not at the cost of fracking. I am somewhat aware that there are other ways that can determine quantities of oil and gas, example being the exploration of gas that occurred in Wairoa.
1. Yes, the efficiencies gained by amalgamating in some form the councils belong back in all the ratepayers' pocket, but more importantly the regional growth benefits of a stronger organisation are positive for all the communities. Local wards can represent the individual city's.
2. Yes, Hawke's Bay is built on food and water - any plan to improve this should be welcomed. The dam plan will need to prove its economic and environmental credentials before it is given the green light.
3. Yes, The medical adviser I respect and listen to is Derek Goodison, our region's ENT surgeon. He recommends fluoridation to help our communities' oral health as a whole, this will be a researched opinion from the coal face and the right one.
4. Yes, oil and gas exploration should be encouraged, fracking needs to be very stringently environmentally proven so as not to risk our region's key advantage with food and water.
1. We may have no choice in the matter but it's important that everyone gets to have their say. Personally I don't believe amalgamation is in Napier's best interests. Yes to shared services continuing and improving.
2. We do need to manage our water resources more carefully in the future. However, I am not yet convinced that the quality of our rivers is guaranteed through the construction of the dam.
3. Internationally, there are many examples of countries improving dental health without fluoridating their water. Promoting good dental hygiene and nutrition is essential.
4. Why look down? Look up. Where possible we should make the most of solar energy which is a clean, renewable, sustainable and abundant resource in our region. Regarding fracking, our acquifier is too precious to risk contaminating. We need to ask ourselves, is fracking in the best interests of future generations?
1. No. It appears at present a majority of the people of Napier are not in favour of amalgamation. I believe that the benefits have have not been proven. However I believe that Napier City has to work closer with Hastings with shared services to benefit the residents of Hawke's Bay. I do not support a forced amalgamation by central government until a majority of the people of Hawke's Bay support this happening.
2. Yes. The Dam project would provide a reliable water supply to our agricultural sector of our region provided that the costing and environmental conditions are managed properly.
3. No. Not all residents need fluoride in our water supply. People can choose to use fluoride toothpaste or tablets instead.
4. No. With oil and gas including fracking we need to consider the possible environmental damage that may occur, especially to our underground water supply.
1. No to amalgamation. It has been established in Australia that the size and density of councils plays little part in its long-term sustainability and performance. On 12/4/2013, four of Queensland's councils began the task of de-amalgamation. Napier and Hastings already work together on a number of shared services which I believe will continue.
2. Obviously this project is out of the jurisdiction of NCC, however I trust the HBRC be will considering all the environmental and cultural aspects and if built would comply with earthquake requirements.
3. No to fluoride. Tablets are cheap and readily available for those that require them, as well as toothpaste.
4. No to fracking as I am concerned about the possible effects on our underground aquifers and seismic stability. The method does not fully disclose what fluids would be used, which also creates concern. Once damage is done it cannot be reversed.
1. No. I challenge the claim that amalgamation is a forgone conclusion. A unified approach to road networks and matters of regional scale infrastructure can be addressed without the requirement for dissolving the current, highly desirable council structure, a proven system which has the mechanisms to successfully advocate for Napier's distinct social needs and prospects.
2. Yes. I support construction of the Ruataniwha Dam. However, regional council assumptions regarding cost and impact have not been sufficiently challenged, nor the financial feasibility assessed openly nor thoroughly.
3. No. The adjustment of fluoride levels in public water, whether adding fluoride or decreasing naturally occurring levels, is a peripheral, yet highly contentious contribution to dental health. I rate the benefits of fluoride adjustment negligible and and an unnecessary expense. I regard school-age dental care and dietary education as paramount.
4. No. No to fracking in the Bay!
1. No. Reason: Changes (other than amalgamation) can be made that will create a way forward for our region.
i) By forming a joint regional committee with representatives from each of the region's councils. This committee would address the need for regional facilities, common by-laws and prioritise regional economic development proposals and initiatives.
ii) Through shared services with the region's council. Currently we have 33 shared services and these should be continued and even expanded.
2. Yes - in principle.
This is a major project with significant economic benefits to the region but it also comes at a huge cost ($235 million) and is not without risks. It is therefore essential that this project does not become a burden on the ratepayers of Hawke's Bay at any time in the future, even in 50-70 years' time.
3. Yes. People at the coal face, ie dentists and paediatricians advocate for it. Education campaigns promoting good diet and dental hygiene could provide benefits as well.
Are the teeth of Napier's children worse or better than Hastings' children?
4. No (without further information on the environmental effects and what is proposed). There is no doubt that the Taranaki region by supporting the exploration of oil and gas off its coast.has prospered over the last 40-50 years The whole matter needs further debate. The employment opportunities and regional economic benefit to Hawke's Bay need to be weighed up against the issues relating to the fracking debate.
1. Napier is currently in a very strong position in Hawke's Bay with little debt, cash reserves, sustainable assets, excellent amenities & up to date infrastructure and low rate increases I would like to keep it that way.
We will put this all at risk if we amalgamate with other councils; I am personally against any kind of merger, however strengthening shared services with our council neighbours is the way to go.
I support the democratic right for all, to make a decision by referendum.
2. I am awaiting independent reports on financial, economic and environmental effects of the dam to be done, then I can make an informed decision. However I would be concerned if the Napier ratepayer has any financial liability risk now or in the future.
4. There are economic benefits to Hawke's Bay for exploration without fracking, though I would be apprehensive if drilling adversely affects Napier's aquifer.