Hawke's Bay residents have voiced their opinion on Napier Port's ownership as hearings on the issue kicked off today.

Around 80 people will share their views on the controversial issue with council over the course of the hearings.

Councillor Paul Bailey said that he was looking forward to all the public submissions.

"Hopefully I will learn something."


Today most people are expected to speak on the first option, which is the port retaining full ownership.

Port worker Rosalind Muir said she couldn't understand why council would sell an asset which brings in over 70% of council's revenue.

"When I say Napier Port not for sale, I mean it."

David Marden , one of the union officer at the port, said the union doesn't want to see the port sold.

He said his union had seen the devastation of privatisation, when rail was privatised at the end of last century.

He also spoke about the posted consultation documents, saying is was hard to tell whether the 3000 submissions were truly representational, given some people did not receive their consultation documents in the mail.

When addressing the issue that rates will increase if council retains full ownership, multiple speakers pointed out the actual dollar figure would see rates go up by about $100 per year, which many speakers saw as affordable for residents of Hawke's Bay.

However, not everybody thought it was the best option, speaker Gordon Preston said council should focus on clearing the debt and restructuring the governance of the port, before looking at developing the port.


Hearings will run until Thursday. As well as spoken submissions, council also received over 3000 written submissions.

A decision is expected to be made on December 19.