An "oversight" by Hastings District Council led to pro-amalgamation material being left on its website in breach of Local Government Commission guidelines, the council said yesterday.

The page - outlining why the council supported a merger of Hawke's Bay's local authorities - was taken down yesterday, shortly after Hawke's Bay Today asked why it had not been removed.

Under the Local Government Act, councils are not allowed to promote or oppose amalgamation once the commission has issued a final proposal affecting their area.

Earlier this month the commission issued a final proposal in favour of Hawke's Bay's five councils being merged into a single local authority from November next year.


The proposal will be the subject of a binding region-wide poll on September 15.

In guidelines issued this month, the commission said, ahead of the poll, councils could only publish amalgamation material on their websites provided it was "factual or referential" and was presented "in a balanced way".

While no council money or resources can be used to promote or oppose the final proposal, lobby groups, MPs and individuals are free to campaign on the issue. A spokesman for the commission said it had distributed its guidelines to the region's councils.