It's the same old hot seat but a new office and a new view for Napier Mayor Bill Dalton who has been among the last to vacate the 50-year-old council building which has been condemned as an earthquake risk.

But for the strategy and logistics of shifting 230 administrative staff to three temporary homes, he and council chief executive Wayne Jack would, like the caption of a sinking ship, have been last to get out.

Their move from the old four-storey building on Hastings St, between Station St and the Napier Courthouse, took place on Thursday. It was a week ahead of the shift to a Hastings St frontage of Dunvegan House of the customer services near completing the relocation, but perhaps the most important for those still seeing the front counter as the way to get to the council.

It's where people can pay their rates and parking fines.


Not displeased with the view from the previous office, Mr Dalton has found one even better, including not only the vista towards Cape Kidnappers but also overlooking the Marine Parade redevelopment and the new Marine Parade-Vautier St roundabout, both parts of the removal of heavy trucks from Marine Parade, the focus of many other views over the years.

The seat isn't the only same-old furniture, Mr Dalton noting the only new item in the suite being a lockable cabinet which is surprisingly small for such a precinct, but then everyone's had to downsize.

A council administration operation which occupied 9000 sq m, now has to make do with one third of the space, with as yet nothing firm on how long it will be before they are back together again.

Mr Dalton is, however, one of the few with finite habitation in mind, reaffirming yesterday he is sticking to his plan to step down in two years. This will be at the end of his second term since winning election after the retirement of previous long-term Mayor Barbara Arnott in 2013.

"Eventually we need to get all the administration back into one building for efficiency," he said, with decisions on a new council building and location still to be made.

"These things take an enormous amount of time, I retire in two years and it certainly won't have a permanent home by then. This desk will see me out."

Mr Dalton said the Napier council is not alone with such problems, and others have been in contact and are following the situation. They are aware that they, too, will be moving as buildings are restrengthened or replaced.

While the new Mayoral HQ has meeting rooms, council meetings have been held in the nearby Hawke's Bay Regional Council chambers and the council also has available the Conference Centre.