The push to get more City Assist workers patrolling Flaxmere has the full support of Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule.

His support was called into question by councillor Jacoby Poulain after she read the mayor's comments in Hawke's Bay Today on how much of ratepayers' money should be spent on what was the central government issue of policing.

Ms Poulain and councillor Henare O'Keefe asked the council to extend its City Assist programme into Flaxmere at a cost of $180,000 earlier this year.

City Assist could help contribute to the feel of safety and vibrancy of our community.


Mr Yule said that while he supported the councillors' request, the point he was trying to make was that the local authority was already spending close to $400,000 in Hastings, and now that budget was going to increase by almost $200,000.


"All I am raising is the question: are we doing that because the policing resourcing has changed or the priority of the work they are doing has changed, and [are] the ratepayers - picking up what is effectively a safety cost?" he said.

"It doesn't mean I am not supporting Flaxmere. I have actually supported them to get it to this point and have I voted with them."

The suburb's councillors had asked him to put the request on to the council's agenda and he voted with them to have it included in the Annual Plan consultation document.

Some councillors then asked Mr Yule to put a remit up to Local Government New Zealand questioning the policing budgets.

Ms Poulain said all Flaxmere was asking for was fair treatment and council support.

Flaxmere councillors raised it with the council, requesting that funding be included in the Annual Plan to improve safety.

"I specifically expressed that this was based upon the near-exact rationale as the need for City Assist was based upon in the Hastings CBD a couple years back," said Ms Poulain.

"As a result of increasing public safety concerns being raised in Flaxmere, City Assist could help contribute to the feel of safety and vibrancy of our community with the presence of city ambassadors walking the streets and our Flaxmere CDB, just as they do in the Hastings CBD."

City Assist apparantly works with retailers, the public and police to enhance public safety, discourage anti-social behaviour and generally act as ambassadors for the district, Ms Poulain said.

"We simply want the same in Flaxmere - nothing more, nothing less," she said.

She said it was evident that police had cut their numbers across the district.

"They came in and told us," she said.

"We can't wait for national debate and politics on this issue, hoping for an extra cop or two that isn't going to come, much in the same way that Hastings city couldn't wait for police resource to come two years ago."

Ms Poulain said that as long as the council did not use this Local Government NZ remit as an excuse to not support Flaxmere's push to get more City Assist personnel on the ground, "then we are all for raising the issue on a national level".