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Haul up the drawbridge, man the walls, fire up the oil!

Haul up the drawbridge, man the walls, fire up the oil!

Wed, Nov 28 2012

That’s the image used by Councillor Tim Gilbertson to mock the Regional Council’s proposal to defend itself from newly enacted legislation that will facilitate local government re-structuring.

The Council’s sturdy defense, adopted by 5-3 vote (with Councillors Gilbertson, Kirton and McGregor against) will consist of a letter from Chairman Wilson to the Local Government Minister and the Local Government Commission (I can hear their knees knocking), warning that HBRC’s ability to perform its statutory tasks — like keeping rivers clean — will be compromised if the Council is distracted by reorganisation proposals.

Equipping local government in Hawke’s Bay to face the future is such a darn nuisance to the Regional Council!

But wait, it’s even worse than a distraction.

Councillor Dick lamented that reorganisation will result in an urbanite takeover of local government in the Bay. Those with greater concern for the ‘built environment’ would overtake those concerned with our ‘natural environment’. I think he was suggesting that the Regional Council is our champion of the natural environment … a stretch of the evidence, I’d argue!

Councillor Kirton saw Dick’s conjuring up of “three-headed monsters” as rather hysterical. Both he and Councillor Gilbertson urged supporters of reorganisation, mentioning A Better Hawke’s Bay, to simply “get on with it” and make application as soon as possible to the Local Government Commission for consolidation of our councils.

A Better Hawke’s Bay (ABHB) clearly intends to oblige, as ABHB chair Rebecca Turner commented to media:

“A Better Hawke’s Bay is delighted that the reorganisation legislation will be enacted by Parliament before Christmas. And we intend to submit a reorganisation proposal as quickly as possible after enactment. Reorganisation designed to equip Hawke’s Bay to better chart a prosperous future course will happen, we need to work together to get it right and to ensure that we achieve the best outcome and not allow wrongfully perceived conflicts to protect the status quo.”

For its part, the Regional Council, determined to remain behind the curve, doesn’t plan to take up reorganisation again until a public excluded workshop next January 31st.

Meantime Wellington, prepare yourself for Chairman Wilson’s fusillade!

Tom Belford

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