A senior Ministry of Justice official has scotched suggestions that courts in Hawke's Bay could be centralised in Hastings.

Deputy Secretary District Courts and Special Jurisdictions Karl Cummins said that "any suggestion" of an amalgamation of the courts of Napier and Hastings was "absolutely incorrect".

The possibility was raised by Napier Mayor Bill Dalton on Sunday at a public meeting on police changes, which include shifting police Eastern District headquarters to a three-storey complex to be built in Hastings and replacing Napier's ageing three-storey station with a single-floored "satellite" station.

The changes, over the next two years, started with centralising of police cellblock facilities in Hastings with the first appearances of arrested people in custody now being held in Hastings District Court.


Speculation had been circulating among some courts staff and both Mr Dalton and Napier MP Stuart Nash told the meeting they had heard "rumours" but nothing more.

Police Hawke's Bay area commander Inspector Tania Kura told the meeting the police centralisation plan was initiated by funding constraints and that, within the constraints, she was having difficulty managing police cover for two courts in Napier and in Hastings.

Mr Dalton said later that was "effectively" an announcement that centralisation of police and judicial services in Hastings was under way.

Mr Nash said yesterday he was posing a series of questions to ministers and requests under the Official Information Act.

People at the meeting agreed on a resolution to ask police hierarchy to hold on to land and have a fallback to review its position 12 months into the centralisation.

Mr Dalton said the decisions had been made and the council couldn't take the police issue any further but he said he awaited with interest "what will happen with other Government services" in Hawke's Bay.

He said, in writing to Hawke's Bay Today: "It is abundantly clear that our current central government has lost all sense of community.

"Tell me where else in the world does a city with a population of almost 60,000 - a city that is a major centre of tourism - have no 24/7 police station."

Both the mayor and the MP said police communication on the strategy was poor and had the public been better informed, there would have been no need for public meetings such as that on Sunday, when close to 200 people packed the Napier council chambers.

"People had no idea what's going on," Mr Nash said yesterday.

"It's just crazy - I think it's been handled really poorly."