Hawke's Bay Regional Council's chairman has rejected claims its public consultation over the future of Napier's port is a "shambles".

Regional council chair Rex Graham, said the consultation issue had become a political football and people should instead focus on the question of port ownership itself.

"We don't want it to be a political football.

"The one, vital thing is, this region needs a new wharf.


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"We've just got to figure out how as a region, is the best way to fund that, that's what the debate should be around."

Anna Lorck, who founded the group ourportoursay.co.nz, said she believed there were grounds to take a complaint to the Auditor-General as, despite being halfway through the consultation process, some people were yet to receive their documents.

"Ratepayers deserve a fair go. The council-run consultation process has become a complete shambles.

"We must have absolutely confidence that the consultation process has not been compromised."

Graham said it was unfair to focus on the issue of the mailed consultation documents not arriving when all information had been online since the start of the process, as well as available in libraries and council buildings across the region.

Rex Graham rejects the suggestion that consultation over Napier's port is a
Rex Graham rejects the suggestion that consultation over Napier's port is a "shambles".

But Lorck said it was the council's responsibility to ensure people got the document, rather than residents' responsibility to ensure they got the information.

The regional council has decided to extend the consultation by a week, with submissions now being received until Thursday, November 22.


However, Lorck said that was not good enough.

"It appears they won't extend beyond this timeframe as they're determined to make a decision before Christmas.

"But the council's own agenda must come second to ensuring everyone has a fair and equal opportunity to have their say."

Hawke's Bay Regional Council chief executive James Palmer said they estimated urban delivery had reached about 95 per cent of urban letter boxes and 90 per cent of rural delivery letterboxes.

"No method of distribution is perfect and for those people who have not, for whatever reason, received a consultation document, the extension provides further time to digest the information and have their say."